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Batavia business owner pulls martini lounge proposal

BATAVIA – Batavia business owner Michael Grudecki said he is pulling his proposal to turn the city-owned Thomle building in downtown Batavia into a martini lounge because he is tired of the city dragging out the process.

“They have taken two years of my time,” Grudecki said Tuesday. “I don’t have time for this anymore. I don’t want to do business with the city anymore.”

Grudecki, president of Vignette Home Decor in Batavia, said he first approached city officials in February 2012 with the idea for his proposed Tini Lounge.

In November 2013, he voiced frustration that he originally made his proposal to aldermen in May and they have to yet to vote on the proposal.

“I’m a savvy business person who knows when enough is enough,” Grudecki said. “The city at this point has blown their chance for a concept that quite honestly was meant to be.”

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 building, which was built in 1876.

Grudecki said the city has shown more interest in another proposal for the building than his proposal. St. Charles-based Corcoran Commercial Real Estate in December 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.

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. One of the options Grudecki had discussed for acquiring the building was for the city to give him a loan, with 20 percent of the loan being forgiven for each year the building is owned.

Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said the city has to take a hard look at any proposal involving public financing.

“There has to be a credible and plausible return coming to the city,” he said.

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