French bakery, coffeehouse eyes location in downtown Elgin

Posted6/8/2021 5:30 AM

A building constructed for a meat market more than 115 years ago in downtown Elgin may soon become home to a new French bakery.

The Elgin Leasing and Operating Co. LLC purchased the three-story building at 201-203 E. Chicago St. earlier this year for $850,000. The structure is known as the Leitner Building. Miles and Patricia Henderson, both of Elgin, bought the building with the idea of converting a vacant first-floor retail space into a bakery that would be operated by their oldest son, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago.


Miles Henderson told members of the city's planning and zoning commission Monday night the initial plan grew into a larger project when the opportunity arose to buy the whole building.

"It wasn't my intention to become a landlord, but the economics were such that when I came across the situation it made great sense," Henderson said. "Once I saw it, we were all in. We feel very fortunate to be here."

The building is also the current home of Stoll Real Estate and six studio and one-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors. Henderson said he intends to rent out the apartment spaces.

The high-end French bakery on the first floor would operate from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday. The bakery would specialize in croissants, macarons and desserts. Its operation would overlap with a coffee shop at the front of the bakery that will operate from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Sunday. The business would have two employees when it opened its doors, but the plan is to add more staff if the venture is successful.

Because of the business' location, there is no requirement in the city code for the owners to provide parking. However, the building is right by the city's Spring Street parking deck.

The planning commission voted to recommend approval of the bakery to the city council. The full city council must take a vote before the matter is final.


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