Aiston working to find developers for Baptist Church, Siemens property

Published: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Chris Aiston on Tuesday updated Batavia aldermen on what he has been doing since they voted to hire him in August as an independent contractor for economic development services.

The former St. Charles economic development director told aldermen he has been working to find a developer for the city-owned former First Baptist Church building in downtown Batavia.

He also has been working on the redevelopment of the former Siemens factory at Van Nortwick Avenue and McKee Street.

“I think we have a great opportunity for redeveloping the First Baptist Church building,” Aiston told them.

In August, aldermen 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.

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.

Aiston has brought in a couple of developers to look at the First Baptist Church building, as well as the Siemens property. The Siemens factory was a familiar part of the city’s landscape for more than 60 years. It first opened as Furnas Electric Company in October 1940.

The company produced electric motor controls. In early 1996, the U.S. subsidiary of Munich-based Siemens AG bought the family-owned company.

The company closed the plant January 2006.