Owner asks judge to allow demolition of historic Geneva blacksmith shop

The Shodeen Family Foundation is asking a judge to overturn Geneva's denial of its request to remove the landmark status of a circa 1840 former limestone blacksmith shop at 4 E. State St. and allow demolition.

The three-page court filing, which names the city, the city council and the Historic Preservation Commission as defendants, seeks judicial review of the officials' denials.

The Historic Preservation Commission recommended the requests be denied Aug. 15 and the city council upheld the denials at a special meeting Sept. 26.

The court filling asks for a reversal of the city's final order "and all related decisions, rulings and orders because they were erroneous and contrary to the governing law and the relevant facts."

The city's response, filed last week, asks a court to require Shodeen be specific about the errors it alleges.

"Given the lack of any specificity within plaintiff's complaint, defendants' motion should be granted requiring plaintiffs to identify any supposed error upon which it seeks reversal or other court intervention," city attorney Ronald Sandack's filing states.

A hearing on the city's motion is set for Dec. 20 before Kane County Judge Kevin Busch.

Developer Shodeen Inc. created 4 East State Street Holdings, LLC, to purchase the Mill Race Inn's 1.4-acre property at 4 E. State St. in 2014, according to Kane County property records. Later, the owner was listed as the Shodeen Family Foundation

Shodeen demolished the portions of the former iconic restaurant on the Fox River that were additions to the original historic limestone structure.

The city designated the former blacksmith shop as a historic landmark in 2018 after Shodeen Inc. applied for a demolition permit, ultimately halting the demolition.

At the time, 1st Ward Alderperson Michael Bruno said the 30-by-50-foot limestone structure was "possibly the oldest remaining building in Geneva, and if not the oldest, one of the oldest."

In October 2022, the Shodeen Family Foundation filed an application to remove the historic landmark status and allow the demolition to proceed. City council members rejected the request in September.

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