Will Des Plaines finally condemn the old Leona’s building?

Des Plaines officials on Monday finally could move ahead with plans to forcibly buy a long-vacant restaurant building in the downtown area.

The council will consider authorizing using the city’s eminent domain powers to acquire the former Leona's at 1504 Miner St. Passage wouldn’t require the council to seize the property, however.

The 4,400-square-foot building has been unused since Leona’s closed in 2017. It’s a prime location in the downtown district officials have been trying to revitalize for years.

After unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a purchase with owner Jim Karkazis, the council spent several meetings last year debating whether to forcibly purchase the building. It tentatively cleared the way for a purchase through eminent domain last summer, but a final vote still is needed.

Karkazis has fought the effort. He’s repeatedly said one entrepreneur or another was interested in leasing the building and launching businesses there, prompting the council to delay condemnation votes — most recently in December.

But no new tenant has moved in, despite reported interest from a golf shop, two cannabis dispensaries and other ventures.

Back in December, officials gave Karkazis until Monday to land a tenant. Time is up — and at least a few aldermen are out of patience.

“We keep getting empty promise after empty promise,” 5th Ward Alderman Carla Brookman said. “At this point, I think we really have to do something.”

Eighth Ward Alderman Mike Charewicz agreed, saying seizing the property may be the only option left. It shouldn’t be this difficult to find a business to take over the high-profile spot, he said.

“I think we’ve given him three or four second chances,” Charewicz said. “We need somebody in there.”

Monday’s meeting is set for 7 p.m. at city hall, 1420 Miner St. It will be livestreamed at

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Des Plaines halts condemnation plans for former Leona's building

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