Willy McCoys

Willy McCoys restaurant at 320 Pioneer Trail in Chaska.

Willy McCoy’s, a 1920s Prohibition-themed tavern, will open in Shakopee this summer after nearly two years of planning and some complications.

Water and utility costs ensnared Owner Korey Bannerman in February, when he was charged $250,000 in water and sewer connection fees by the city of Shakopee, Metropolitan Council and Shakopee Public Utilities Commission. Since 2002, the SPUC water connection charge has increased from $567 per unit to $6,039 per unit. That’s not including the trunk water fee that is charged per acre, which was $831 per net acre in 2002 and today is $4,451 per net acre.

Steve Soltau, the building’s project manager, has been developing property in Shakopee since the 1990s and said water and utility fees tend to hit restaurants the hardest because they are considered heavy water users.

“When you’re building a restaurant and suddenly those fees are over a quarter of a million dollars, it impacts the viability of that restaurant entirely,” Soltau said.

Where a retail shop might pay for up to three units at a cost of $9,021 per unit, Willy McCoy’s will be on the hook for approximately 28 units. That fee is divided among three entities, with 5.5 percent going to the city of Shakopee, 27.5 percent to the Met Council and 67 percent to SPUC.

City administrator Bill Reynolds said the city did not agree to Bannerman’s earlier request for help with water utility costs.

“This is a SPUC issue,” Reynolds said. “The city is not going to subsidize SPUC fees.”

In February, Bannerman agreed to a three-year payment program with SPUC, which gives him three years to pay for the fees with zero interest or rate escalation. In the end, though, a payment plan won’t ease the overall cost, he said.

The restaurant will be part of Southbridge Crossings, a development between Home Depot and Marcus Southbridge Crossing Cinema off County Roads 21 and 18. The restaurant’s exact opening date is not available to the public yet.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.

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