Proposed gateway project in Antioch revised to reflect town's heritage
Plans for a major project proposed in downtown Antioch have been revised, with work expected to begin in February.
The conversion of the long vacant Flo's Family Hair Care into a bar and restaurant at Main Street and Lake Street has been modified to reflect a more historic look.
"We've included architectural elements apropos of Antioch in the late 1800s and early 1900s," said Jim Donohoe, managing partner for an investment group pursuing the project known as Rivalry Ale House.
The interior and exterior design will include historical influences in concept and materials, he added. For example, a bracketed awning replicating that of early stores will be used at the Main Street entrance, and the building will be made to appear as if it's been there since the town was founded.
The south side facing Park Street will feature an arched cornice above the center window with a Victorian-style roofline, Donohoe said. Historical design specialists have been hired to ensure features inside, including wood and millwork finishes, electrical fixtures, ceiling detail and color scheme, reflect the era, he added.
"The design and presentation of our bars is sure to be altogether historically appropriate, modernly efficient and visually stunning," said Donohoe, who also owns and operates The Lodge, a Northwoods-themed pub just north on Main Street.
Proposed changes are in keeping with a village initiative to preserve or replicate historical detail in downtown buildings when possible. The goal is to "little by little, get these buildings back to their roots or close to their original forms," explained Mayor Larry Hanson.
The village board in May approved a site plan for Rivalry Ale House and a month later approved a $200,000 grant and exclusive license to use a municipal parking lot as an incentive for the estimated $1.5 million project.
The interior was gutted, but work stalled after construction bids reportedly were higher than expected. The second floor was reduced by about 1,000 square feet, a glass atrium facing Main Street was eliminated and other exterior modifications were made to be more consistent with the historic character of the area.
"I think they came up with a much stronger project," Hanson said.
Last month, the village board revised the incentive package by changing the completion date from May 1 to the earliest practical time. The $200,000 grant remains.
Trustees Jerry Johnson and Ed Macek recused themselves from deliberations and voting on the package. Johnson is an investor in the building, and Macek is an insurance agent.
Flo's, a single-story building on the southern end of downtown, has been vacant for more than two years. Community Development Director Michael Garrigan has described the proposed project as a "game changer" for the area.