The Joliet City Council Economic Development Committee on Tuesday signed off on an incentive package worth more $800,000 for a proposal to redevelop a long-vacant city owned building for apartments and a restaurant.
Local businessman Jeff Thompson said he hopes to attract tenants to upscale apartments because of the buildings location near the Gateway Center train station.
“My focus on marketing the apartments would be the train,” Thompson told the committee. “I have a 27-year-old daughter who told me that. She told me she knows 27-year-olds who would love to be able to walk across the street to the train.”
The building at 141 E. Jefferson St. had previously been dubbed the “Stadium Club” because of its proximity just outside the right field wall at Joliet Route 66 Stadium.
Thompson is calling it the Gateway Building because of its proximity to the city’s new train station.
He is the second private developer to propose a redevelopment plan for the property.
As it did previously, the city is offering up to $300,000 in credit to offset redevelopment costs and pay for the building. Once Thompson shows he has spent $300,000 in upgrades, the city will turn over the building to him.
The city also is offering a $300,000 grant from tax increment financing funds along with a $100,000 grant from the Joliet City Center Partnership to help finance the project. The project is estimated to cost just under $2 million.
The incentive package will go to the full City Council for final approval.
Joliet also is offering TIF money to offset costs estimated at $100,000 to upgrade the water lines to the building and to build a cantilever walkway to provide pride privacy from the ballpark.
The building is located alongside a patio area for the ballpark, and the walkway would direct baseball fans away from the apartment windows. City officials said the existing water service to the building in insufficient for the upgrades.
“There would be a substantial economic benefit to the city from the project,” said Derek Conley, the city’s economic development specialist, noting the property would be back on the tax rolls.
The city has estimated demolition costs of the building at $400,000, he said.
“Either way,” he said, “we’re putting money into the building.”
Economic Development Director Steve Jones said that with the exception of the building being used occasionally for storage, it has been vacant at least since being acquired by the city when the stadium was built in 2002.
The plan is to have 10 apartments on the upper two floors with three handicap-accessible apartments and a restaurant on the first floor.