$1.5 million ale house plan in downtown Antioch delayed
Work on a planned $1.5 million conversion of a former hair salon into a bar and restaurant in Antioch has been delayed.
The interior of the former Flo's Family Hair Care, 945 Main St. (Route 83), has been gutted after a demolition permit was issued by the village in June. But there has been no further activity.
A representative for the project was not immediately available Tuesday, but a village official said construction bids for the proposed Rivalry Ale House were higher than expected.
"They need to find a contractor who can do it within their budget," said Michael Garrigan, community development director. "They have not advised us they are modifying the plan or not proceeding," he added.
Flo's, a single-story building on the southern end of the downtown area, has been vacant for two years. Investors want to expand the building by about two-thirds to 9,800 square feet by creating a two-story restaurant with an all-season atrium and an upper, outdoor seating area.
Village officials endorsed the concept in the spring, as well as a potential $200,000 grant from the village for materials and a license to use a portion of an adjoining municipal parking lot for a beer garden.
"We think it's a game changer for the downtown," Garrigan said. "It's a major intersection and it's a very ambitious project."
The idea was pitched by an investment group including Jim Donohoe as managing partner. Donohoe owns and operates The Lodge, a Northwoods-themed venue serving pub food just north on Main Street.
Village Trustee Jerry Johnson also is an investor in the building and would be the landlord. He recused himself from discussions regarding the village incentive.
The incentive is contingent on the project proceeding, Garrigan said. If the plan is modified, the incentive would be reviewed and revised, he said.
The Rivalry Ale House plan remains among the possibilities as the village considers avenues to enhance the area. Grants for awnings and signage have become popular, Garrigan said, with a total of $3,560 recently approved for three businesses.
Village officials consider those minor improvements and are looking for more extensive renovations to consider for funding.
"We don't want the facade program to be an awning program," he said.
That's not the case with Waldron Construction, which received about $15,000 from the village to renovate the space at 889 Main St. A kitchen remodeling showroom grand opening was held Oct. 13.
The village also hired a consultant to study designating downtown, as well as stretches of Route 83 and Route 173, as a "business development district" in accordance with state law.
The village can impose up to an additional 1 percent sales tax in those districts with proceeds used for various economic incentives to improve or develop properties.