GENEVA – The Shodeen family has bought the historic Mill Race Inn, a spokesman announced Tuesday.
Future use of the land has not yet been determined, according to a news release, but Sho-Deen, a Geneva-based developer, recognizes any potential development means meeting the challenges of flooding by the nearby Fox River, according to a prepared statement.
The historic restaurant at 4 E. State St., Geneva, closed in January 2011. The Mill Race Inn began as a blacksmith shop in 1842, but eventually turned into a tea room in the 1930s. Its name was taken from the gristmill where water diverted from the river turned the mill’s wheels, called a “mill race.”
The bank-owned property offered 15,000 square feet of restaurant space with seating for 400. The 1.3-acre site originally was listed for $2.2 million. The asking price was reduced to $1.8 million, then to $1.1 million, then to $890,000 in May 2013, according to broker information.
The Shodeens did not disclose the sale price, and no other information was available.
Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns said he welcomed the opportunity to partner with the Shodeen family and Sho-Deen Inc. “on yet another signature project that will beautify the east bank of the Fox River.”
Burns said he could not say what plans the Shodeens might have for the property.
The Geneva Committee of the Whole this week recommended approval of a study to create a new tax increment financing district which would include the Mill Race property.
Aldermen hired SB Friedman of Chicago for $25,700 to provide the consultant services for the project. Final action must be taken by the City Council.
A TIF district is a development tool where tax dollars are diverted for public improvements, such as roads and sewers, as well as other purposes as the law allows. Once established, a district’s property value is frozen, and anything generated from the improvements is the tax increment.
City officials said they sought the TIF district study to assist with the redevelopment of six significant properties, identified as those at 4 E. State St., 113 E. State, 122 E. State, 130 E. State, 206 E. State and 106 N. Bennett St.
“It might end up in a TIF,” Burns said of the Mill Race property. “That’s a three- to four-month process.”
As to whether the building, now vacant for three years, would have to be torn down, Burns could not say.
“There are historically significant parts we believe can be repurposed,” Burns said. “My position has been, if you want a demolition permit, I’ll give it to you tomorrow.”
Joe Stanton, a local developer who put in an unsuccessful bid for the property last year, praised the purchase and what it will mean for Geneva.
“They have done some phenomenal projects for Geneva,” Stanton said of the Shodeens. “Whatever it is, it will be something Geneva will be proud of and benefit from. They always end up with a great project when they’re done. It will be a tremendous boost for Geneva.”