Des Plaines halts condemnation plans for former Leona's building

An unidentified entrepreneur wants to take over a long-shuttered restaurant building in downtown Des Plaines that is one vote from being condemned and bought by the city, officials revealed Monday.

If a deal is reached, it would mean new life for the former Leona's space at 1504 Miner St.

With private negotiations continuing, the city council on Monday delayed until September a scheduled vote that would let the city use eminent domain to forcibly buy the building.

The council tentatively agreed to pursue condemnation in June, but a second, ratifying vote is needed.

Mayor Andrew Goczkowski asked the council to delay the vote. John Carlisle, the city's community and economic development director, confirmed that a private deal is possible.

The "interested entity" wants to rent the 4,400-square-foot building, Carlisle said.

The building is at the Miner Street entrance to the Metropolitan Square development but it isn't part of that complex. Leona's closed in 2017.

City officials tried to negotiate a purchase from owner Jim Karkazis but weren't successful.

Goczkowski has said a thriving eatery there could serve patrons of the nearby Des Plaines Theatre, attract additional restaurateurs to the area and be a catalyst for more development.

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