JOLIET – Future tenants at the old Barber Building won't get free parking, but they will get a discount rate after an incentive package was approved by the Joliet City Council last week.
The council approved a parking rate of $10 a month for future tenants to go along with a $400,000 grant package to help finance the project.
Downtown developer Mike Petry is renovating the Barber Building – a five-story building on Chicago Street – and an adjacent building for future apartments. The two buildings are at 68 and 76 N. Chicago St.
Council members commended Petry for the project already in progress, as they voted, 8-0, for the incentive package on Tuesday.
"Just what you've done in these past few months in amazing," council members Jan Quillman told Petry at the meeting.
City staff until Tuesday had recommended a discount parking rate of $40 a month for future Barber Building tenants. But Petry appeared before the council at a Monday workshop meeting seeking free parking.
"I do think we need to work with Mr. Petry," Mayor Bob O'Dekirk told staff at the workshop meeting.
The discount rate will apply at the city's parking decks.
The council's Economic Development Committee previously gave its OK to the $400,000 grant package. The money includes $250,000 from a downtown tax increment financing fund, which is used to support economic development, and a $150,000 grant from the City Center Partnership.
The City Center Partnership is a downtown organization funded by a special property tax levied by the city on businesses in that area.
Economic Development Director Steve Jones has advocated for the use of tax dollars to support residential development downtown, saying bank financing is falling short of what developers need for major renovations because of current market rents in that section of town.
City officials want residential development to support the city's downtown economic plan.
The Barber Building project includes more than $2.1 million in bank financing, according to a city memo on the project.