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Restaurant, apartments again eyed for Thomle building

Group out of Wheaton aiming to resurrect proposal

Published: Monday, June 9, 2014 10:04 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 7:48 a.m. CDT
(Eric Schelkopf –
Batavia Enterprises Real Estate is trying to find a tenant for 6 E. Wilson St. in downtown Batavia, which had previously been part of a proposal with the adjacent city-owned Thomle building for a restaurant and apartment project.

BATAVIA – A plan to put a restaurant and apartments in the city-owned Thomle building, as well as a privately owned adjacent building, might be resurrected.

St. Charles-based Corcoran Commercial Real Estate in April withdrew its proposal to acquire the Thomle building at 2 E. Wilson St., Batavia, along with the privately owned 4-6 E. Wilson St. building. Corcoran had plans to develop restaurant space on the first floor and five apartments on the upper levels.

In addition, Batavia business owner Michael Grudecki in February pulled his proposal to turn the Thomle building into a martini lounge. In pulling his proposal, Grudecki, president of Vignette Home Decor in Batavia, said he was tired of the city dragging out the process.

Batavia Enterprises Real Estate has been marketing the 4-6 E. Wilson St. building for the past two years. Austin Dempsey, the company’s vice president, said he recently was approached by a group out of Wheaton that had interest in developing the Thomle building and 4-6 E. Wilson St. building for a restaurant and apartment project.

“It’s very preliminary,” Dempsey said. “I believe in the plan. I think downtown Batavia needs more residential living. It fits in perfectly with the downtown master plan.”

Batavia Enterprises is marketing the 4-6 E. Wilson St. building, which is owned by an out-of-town couple. At one point, Batavia Enterprises had submitted a proposal for development of the 10,470-square-foot building and the Thomle building by a group of investors.

Dempsey said he was “disappointed” the Corcoran proposal didn’t happen. And he believes one hurdle that still needs to be addressed is the lack of parking in that corridor.

“Something has to happen from a parking standpoint for a restaurant to want to come in to that corridor,” he said.

Since 1997, the city has owned the historical, 1876-built Thomle building. The city in the past has rented the space to businesses at a reduced rate to encourage new businesses into downtown.

City Administrator Bill McGrath said city staff is recommending the Thomle building return to that use for the time being.

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