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Bloomington Council asked to provide tax breaks to ex-alderman to rehab vacant downtown building

Main Plaza Building in Downtown Bloomington
Main Plaza Building in Downtown Bloomington(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 9:09 PM CDT
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BLOOMINGTON (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Former Bloomington Alderman Jamie Mathy announced Thursday that with the help of some tax breaks, he plans to double the size of his downtown business by moving into a vacant building he purchased next door, while also creating space for two more retail businesses.

If his former colleagues approve an incentive package at their meeting Monday night, Mathy and his wife Kelly will remodel the unused Main Plaza Building at 301 North Main Street to become the new home to fast-growing Red Raccoon Games.

“The building has been empty for 13 years, and hasn’t had a substantial remodel in far longer than that,” said Mathy, who acknowledged this is the project that presented a conflict of interest under state law, forcing him to resign as Ward 1 alderman in late March.

Jamie Mathy
Jamie Mathy(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)

The couple plans to invest almost $1.6 million into the property. The incentive deal calls for the business to receive property and municipal sales tax reductions, plus 12 parking spaces at the city-owned Market Street garage.

“The ongoing issue with a lot of downtown buildings is they are far older than our electrical, fire, plumbing, and ADA codes, and bringing historic structures up to code is very expensive,” Mathy said in a statement.

“Most banks have not been willing to loan the money to fix the buildings,” he added.

“Most of the risk is on us. If we don’t continue to grow Red Raccoon Games, and if we don’t bring in new retailers that generate sales taxes for the City of Bloomington, we won’t see much in the way of incentives. We’re good with that challenge because we have no intention of slowing down.” said Mathy.

Red Raccoon Games on North Main Street in Downtown Bloomington
Red Raccoon Games on North Main Street in Downtown Bloomington(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)

Red Raccoon Games is considered Central Illinois’ largest board game store. Mathy said the industry grew by 31% last year, and his workforce has grown from six people before the pandemic to a current staff of 13.

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