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Batavia aldermen want to hear ideas for former church

BATAVIA – Aldermen want to know what ideas developers have for the former First Baptist Church building in downtown Batavia.

Aldermen at Monday’s Batavia City Council meeting approved a staff recommendation that the city issue a request for qualifications for potential purchasers, and that the purchasers be given the option to maintain or demolish the entire facility.

“We need to see what the market will bear,” 7th Ward Alderman Dave Brown. “We would like to get it back on the tax rolls.”

A Northbrook-based firm, WJE, has estimated it will cost at least $3.1 million to repair the former First Baptist Church building at the corner of Washington and Wilson streets in downtown Batavia so the building can be reused.

Brown noted the city originally purchased the property to assist in a state project to straighten out the S-curve at the intersection. That project turned out not to be feasible and has been scrapped, he said.

“We now have a piece of property we hope to see developed,” Brown said.

The city has owned the facility since 2006, including the late 19th century original church, a north addition built in the 1930s and a classroom wing built about 1959. The Batavia City Council had hired WJE to assess the building’s condition.

The firm has inspected the building, and recommended repairs be made to the exterior and interior of the 1889 church, 1930s addition and 1959 classroom wing, as well as the building’s mechanical systems.

The firm recommended the city budget between $3.1 million and $3.5 million for the work.

WJE listed an estimated $775,000 in repairs to prevent additional damage to the building materials or features.

Batavia-based Alpine Demolition Services has submitted an estimate of $146,250 to demolish the property.

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