Joliet is considering splitting the costs of a study with the owners of the Hotel Plaza downtown to see if the single-room occupancy hotel can be redeveloped into apartments.
The $22,000 study would estimate the costs of redevelopment and could determine whether it can even physically be done.
“We have to make sure the building can hold the change of format,” Hotel Plaza co-manager Candace Johnson said. “Until we open the walls, we’re not going to know what’s in there.”
Johnson said the current owners have no blueprints for the building, which they bought four years ago.
Since then, 26 W. Clinton St. Building LLC has spent $1.7 million on windows, flooring and other improvements, she said.
However, the building has significant deficiencies, which include an outdated electrical system that cannot support air conditioners for the rooms.
The City Council Economic Development Committee this week recommended the city contribute $11,000 to the study. The proposal must go to the full council for final approval.
Joliet Economic Development Director Steve Jones told the committee that the city is willing to share the costs to determine the feasibility of redeveloping the building and changing its current use.
“It’s something that becomes a city goal,” Jones said. “This kind of redesign of the building helps resolve some of the perceptions that are there.”
The study would determine whether 80% of the units at the hotel could be converted to market-rate apartments.
The hotel has 98 rooms, but about
20 are not used because they require renovations, according to a staff memo on the proposal.
“The need for redevelopment at
26 West Clinton Street has been a long-time topic of discussion as it relates to continuing our forward momentum downtown,” according to the memo.