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McHenry OKs $1M Thorntons incentive deal, new restaurant at McHenry Country Club

Rendering of the new Thorntons.
Rendering of the new Thorntons.

McHenry City Council members agreed to give the developer for a Thorntons gas station and retail complex a $1 million incentive deal.

Bluestone Single Tenant Properties, LLC plans to construct the $15 million development on the northwest corner of Chapel Hill Road and Route 120.

McHenry will rebate sales taxes for the development up to $1 million over the course of the 20-year incentive term.

As part of the deal, the developer would pay upfront costs to extend the city’s water main in the area, put $20,000 toward a new McHenry gateway sign and pay $100,000 for parking improvements at Riverside Chocolate Factory, which is near the site.

City Council originally approved the plan and incentive deal in 2016 but the agreement expired. City Council members and the developer have been negotiating a new agreement since the March 18 meeting.

The original agreement included a Ricky Rockets gas station on the 7.5-acre site, but now it will be a Thorntons with video gambling.

The new gas station plan includes 10 fueling pumps and a 5,500-square-foot convenience store. The station will be considered a truck stop, which means it can legally have on-site video gambling.

Rick Heidner is the developer, according to city documents. He owns Gold Rush Gaming, which operates video gambling terminals, according to its website.

He also had sought additional liquor licenses for the retail complex proposed for the site but agreed to forgo those for now. He could still come back before the City Council once a tenant is identified.

That tenant could possibly still offer alcohol or video gaming but city council members would have to OK a plan.

“Obviously [Heidner] would rather have those additional liquor licenses,” Mayor Wayne Jett said. “But I appreciate him looking at the concern of City Council and staff here.”

Some City Council members were concerned that Heidner would put businesses with additional gaming such as gambling cafes in the retail space if he had pre-approved liquor licenses.

City Council members Monday also transferred McHenry Country Club’s liquor license to Food for Thought McHenry County Club, LLC. Food for Thought is a catering company and running the new Metalwood Grille restaurant at the club, according to city documents.

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