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Joliet seeks buyer to redevelop historic Loughran Building

Property at Cass and Chicago streets vacant since 2005

JOLIET – City officials are actively pursuing a tenant to redevelop the historic Loughran Building for the future downtown Joliet entertainment district.

The city stated in a news release Friday it will start issuing requests for qualifications to review and identify a firm or individuals to take over the building at 1 E. Cass St., across the street from Juliet’s.

“The goal of the RFQ is to first re-introduce the property to the development community,” Joliet Planning Director Kendall Jackson said.

The city hopes to receive a bid from a restaurant-lounge business to use the ground floor, Jackson said, with mixed use of the second and third floors.

“Moving forward, we’re developing a new downtown plan that is focusing on Chicago Street as a restaurant entertainment point of destination,” he said.

The Loughran Building was constructed in 1890 with a retail storefront. The second and third floors have housed a dance hall and several types of businesses.

“It’s always been a mixed-use type of building,” Jackson said.

Most recently, Crabigale’s Comedy Club operated in the first floor until about 10 years ago.

The city became involved with the building when it bought the property in 2001. It sold the property to a developer in 2003, and bought the building back in 2007, about two years after the club shut down.

Since then, the property has remained vacant.

“We’ve had quite a great deal of interest in the building over the past several years, but no real project has developed,” Jackson said.

He said this time around, city officials are targeting specific individuals or firms for the building, including brewpubs and other restaurant-oriented uses.

The RFQs are due to the city by 3 p.m. Oct. 2. Jackson said he hopes the city will enter into a redevelopment agreement late this year or early 2016.

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