Getting the Thomle Building off the city's hands and back on to the property tax rolls could be done, for a $590,000 investment by the city, according to a developer's proposal for the building at 2 E. Wilson St.
Corcoran Commercial Real Estate of St. Charles wants to buy the building next door, at 4-6 E. Wilson, and combine that with the Thomle Building into a facility offering restaurant and residential space.
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"This is probably the largest most expansive and multiuse project we have had in several years," city Administrator Bill McGrath told aldermen at a committee meeting Tuesday.
They gave him permission to continue negotiating with Corcoran.
Corcoran has proposed buying the Thomle Building from the city for $1. It would buy the other building for $585,000, and has executed a letter of intent.
It has asked the city for $400,000 toward that purchase, and $190,000 for rehabilitation work to bring all the buildings up to current code, including installing a fire suppression system.
The 4-6 E. Wilson building has been vacant at least four years, according to McGrath. He described the owner as "passive" in managing the building.
Corcoran's appraisal of the 4-6 E. Wilson building may be too high, McGrath said.
Alderman Dave Brown said continuing to work with Corcoran was his first choice, with hiring a broker second. "That (hiring a broker) would push this thing back another year," he said. " ... But I'm very, very concerned about the money."
The $590,000 would come from a tax-increment financing district fund, in which some property taxes on downtown buildings are devoted to making improvements to buildings and infrastructure that will raise the value of property in the district. The city loans money to some efforts, and grants it to others.
Corcoran proposes receiving $290,000 of it upon execution of a redevelopment agreement, and $300,000 over the next six years.
The city bought the abandoned Thomle Building for $75,000 in 1997. It put in $100,000 worth of repairs. The Batavia MainStreet downtown improvement organization remodeled the interior and had its offices there for several years.
Built in 1878, the Thomle Building used to house a station for the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad line along the Fox River.