Frida's Party Room planned in Elgin
An Elgin resident wants to open Frida's Party Room, a new event space in a historic building just west of downtown.
Rosalba Piñon said she's always liked the 3,400-square-foot space at 219 W. Highland Ave., a one-story building that dates back to 1853 and originally was a stable for a local hotel. It most recently held an antique store that closed about a year ago, she said.
"It has a lot of parking and it's just the right place," she said.
The new event space will host weddings, birthday parties, showers, banquets, receptions and business meetings. Piñon said she expects a lot of her clients will be Latinos. "My English is OK but I am much more comfortable speaking Spanish, and many (Latinos) are also comfortable speaking Spanish," she said.
The building belongs to businessman Kurt Kresmery of Kresmery Properties in Elgin. Piñon said she has worked for the Kresmery family for about 20 years, and manages the family's four La Hacienda money transfer stores in Elgin. Kresmery didn't return a request for comment.
The planning and zoning commission recommended approval of the plan, which will be examined by the city council Wednesday.
The space would hold up to 100 people and available for rent 5 p.m. to midnight daily. The property has 22 parking spaces, and a city parking lot with about 50 spaces is across the street. The parking areas are seldom used in the evening hours, a city staff member said.
The space does not have a commercial kitchen. Piñon plans to apply for a liquor license and would be able to serve food and drinks, or have catered events.
Piñon said she loves the name "Frida" -- a reference to famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo after whom she also named her Shih Tzu dog. "I am doing this with a lot of passion. It's almost like a challenge for myself."
There are two event spaces in downtown Elgin, The Haight at 166 Symphony Way, a space of about 9,000 square feet, and La Quebrada Banquet and Catering at 50 N. Spring St.
"I think there is opportunity for everyone," Piñon said.