Real estate developer John Bays was the lone bidder on the Two Rialto Square office building.
Bays, who said he may try to turn the building into a hotel, offered $350,000 in a bid opened at the deadline Friday.
The board that oversees the Rialto Square Theatre, located next to the office building, may meet in the upcoming week to decide whether to accept, reject or negotiate the bid with Bays, Chairman Robert Filotto said.
“I’m absolutely happy and thrilled that John saw some value to the building and put in the bid that he did,” Filotto said.
The Rialto board sought bids for the building because of high maintenance costs and loss of tenants.
Bays, who has 375,000 square feet of office space in downtown Joliet, said he would like to turn Two Rialto Square into a hotel, if possible.
“I want to get an architect in there and see what it would take to turn that into a real nice hotel,” he said. “I would have to gut the building.”
Bays said it would cost millions to turn the building into a hotel and about $1 million to renovate it for offices.
If he did keep the building for office space, Bays said, he would use the former Gallery Seven space next to the Rialto entrance for a restaurant and bar.
The property actually consists of two buildings and 675,000 square feet but is down to five tenants.
“We know that one’s moving out,” Filotto said, “and we expect a second will be moving out next year.”
The loss of tenants accelerated after a pipe burst in the summer and flooded all six floors of the main building.