Deadline approaching in proposed First Baptist Church redevelopment

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Developers have until Jan. 17 to submit their qualifications for the redevelopment of the former First Baptist Church building in downtown Batavia.

Aldermen in August 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.

The deadline for those to submit their qualifications is 4 p.m. Jan. 17. There will be a pre-submittal conference at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Batavia Government Center, 100 N. Island Ave., to answer questions about the process.

Aldermen in 2005 approved the purchase of the building for $715,000 as part of a project to straighten the Route 25 jog.

But the city and the Illinois Department of Transportation have dropped the project in part because there is no money to pay for it, and city officials said the project would cause more problems than it would solve.

In 2009, S.B. Friedman, a Chicago-based company aldermen had hired to assist the city in the redevelopment of the building, suggested the site could be used for townhouses, condominiums, offices and stores.

City officials have said they would like to get the building 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.

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.

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