JOLIET – A Rialto Square Theatre contract for property management will add on a second firm for the job of filling office space and keeping existing tenants happy.
Rialto officials acknowledged last week that their contract with VenuWorks, the management company brought on board last year, does require the firm to oversee their office space as well as the theater.
Management said they need better management of the office space, so they are going forward with a contract with Olivieri Real Estate.
VenuWorks will be left with management of office maintenance and finances. Olivieri will focus on long-range planning, tenant relations, and filling empty space.
Board member Jane Condon, who had voted against the $80,000 proposal, said she favors the new arrangement.
"We are anxious to improve our tenant relationships," Condon said. "There hasn't been a lot of money down there, and there's a thought that those properties could have been managed better. That's why we went out looking for a professional manager."
The desire for better management of the theater was the motive for hiring VenuWorks, which is being paid a base annual fee of $114,000 in a contract that includes oversight of both the theater and adjoining office space.
Condon said VenuWorks was unwilling to reduce its fee to make the original Olivieri proposal more affordable for the Rialto. However, VenuWorks also is seen as a theater manager lacking the real estate expertise needed to compete for office tenants in downtown Joliet.
The Rialto has been without a building manager since Michael Biedron quit in December. VenuWorks had not hired a replacement. So, the Rialto is saving the cost of that salary.
But the idea of hiring a second management company at the cash-strapped operation did raise questions.
"Considering the Rialto's financial situation, does it make sense to pay for an outside company when you're already paying for that?" Joliet resident Michael Morgan asked the board at the start of its meeting Wednesday.
After the new Olivieri deal was brought out, Morgan said he was satisfied.
"For $25,000, I think it can be an investment for the future," he said.
The Olivieri contract still awaits legal review before it can be finalized.