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Local News

Lockport finds new developer for Volz building

LOCKPORT – A Lockport building that was destroyed in a fire may be resurrected with a new developer.

Mayor Steven Streit announced at Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting that the Volz building in downtown Lockport has found a developer. He said the building has always been an “albatross in downtown development.”

But under a new owner, the building may hold a restaurant, bar and apartment. 

City Administrator Ben Benson said the city bought the building last March. City officials tried to work with the previous owner to restore it after it was damaged in a fire. 

The new developer plans to have the first floor of the building be a restaurant, with the second floor being a banquet or meeting space and the third floor having residential apartments, he said. The back of the building would also have a lounge. 

The developer, who Benson did not name, plans to present their plans at the next City Council meeting on Oct. 15. 

“They’re still making some last-minute decisions on how they want to have their operation run,” Benson said. 

The building is located in a tax increment financing district. However, the developer doesn’t plan to use tax increment financing funds nor take on any sales tax incentive or real estate tax abatements, he said. 

Since it is in a TIF district, Benson said city officials must consider any and all proposals for the building, including competing ones from other developers. He said the city could accept the best offer and make a decision in November. 

Sister cities 

Streit also announced Wednesday that city officials will seal the deal and become sister cities with Asiago, Italy. Residents can bear witness to this union at 11:30 a.m. on Friday at the City Council chambers in City Hall, he said. 

City officials plan to contact Asiago city officials through Skype. 

Streit said the city could make use of their partnership with Asiago by providing student exchange programs and encouraging park districts host trips to the Italian city. 

Retail recruitment 

Next week, city officials plan to head to a conference in Chicago to talk with retail brokers and hopefully find companies interested in developing the city’s retail centers. Streit said city is now “fully armed” with the tools and information to promote Lockport to retailers. 

Lockport has been working with the Retail Coach to develop its retail areas in town. Streit said the city has been working hard to get foreclosed properties developed again. One of those foreclosed properties is Lockport Square South, he said. 

“One of the reasons that’s been empty for so long is because the bank was asking for $30 a square foot when the market value was only $14. But now that we have new buyers there that is going to start to see movement,” he said. 

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