Batavia aldermen hear proposals for Thomle building

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 6:22 p.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Aldermen at Tuesday’s Joint Committee of the Whole meeting heard two proposals for the redevelopment of the city-owned Thomle building in downtown Batavia.

The city has been exploring whether to sell the building at 2 E. Wilson St. in downtown Batavia. Since 1997, the city has owned the historical building, which was built in 1876.

St. Charles-based Corcoran Commercial Real Estate presented aldermen with its proposal to acquire the Thomle building and combine it with the 4-6 E. Wilson St. building to develop restaurant space on the first floor and five apartments on the upper levels.

“We can attract the type of operator that will bring more people into the downtown,” Ryan Corcoran of Corcoran Commercial Real Estate, told aldermen. “It might serve as an anchor to bring more people downtown.”

Plans include for the restaurant to have a 1,500-square-foot deck that would overlook the Fox River along with three apartments on the second floor and two apartments on the third floor.

Corcoran is seeking financial assistance from the city, but the amount of assistance has not yet been disclosed.

"The document we received from Corcoran Commercial Real Estate was a draft – or at least a preliminary estimate – and not a formal request for public financial assistance," Batavia Assistant City Administrator Jason Bajor said on Wednesday.

Bajor said he expects Corcoran's request will be formally submitted to the city within the next few weeks.

"Once we have that formal request document we will be providing it to the public," Bajor said.

Aldermen also heard a proposal from Michael Grudecki, president of Vignette Home Decor in Batavia. to turn the city-owned Thomle building in downtown Batavia into an upscale establishment, Tini Lounge, that will specialize in martinis.

Grudecki said the establishment would create excitement in the downtown. He said his proposal would be privately funded.

“Downtown Batavia is lacking what Geneva and St. Charles already have – a lot of people downtown,” he told aldermen.

The city in the past has rented the Thomle building to businesses at a reduced rate to encourage new businesses into the downtown.

The latest business, Simonetti Studios, last year moved from the Thomle building to a second-story loft space at 30 Shumway Ave.

Grudecki’s plan also includes renting out the building’s lower level to another tenant.

“I want to keep the incubator space to give other businesses the same opportunity,” he said.

Aldermen plan to discuss the proposals in January.

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