Major Developments Moving Foward in Aurora

A rendering shows proposed restaurants, led by Mora Asian Fusion, at the Vargas Building in downtown Aurora. (City of Aurora)

By Steve Lord / The Beacon News

Major downtown redevelopment agreements for Aurora got their final City Council approval recently.

All the developments include a mix of private investment, the sale of historic tax credits which are also private funds, and some public investment.

Two of the developments along the Galena Boulevard corridor are the Terminal Building at 2 N. Broadway (Broadway and Galena), and the Vargas Building, 43 E. Galena Blvd., along the Fox River at the corner of the Water Street Mall and Galena.

The buildings are both a short walk from the Paramount Theatre. They also are just down the street from the Aurora Arts Center, which will open as a school for performing arts with a restaurant in it, and the Leland Tower apartments, which will soon have a new restaurant from the Altiro group, which does Latin fusion food, on its ground floor.

The redevelopment agreement for the Terminal Building would be between the city and UEP Aurora LLC, a subsidiary of Urban Equity Properties, of Rockford.

The building would be remodeled into 20 market rate apartments on the upper floors, with a 3,500-square-foot restaurant in the first floor where the Broadway Diner once was. Jeff Orduno, chief operating officer and general counsel for Urban Equity, said the apartments would range from 450 square feet to 1,200 square feet, with most being about 650 square feet.

Just across the street and a little west is the Vargas Building. Mora Asian Fusion would be purchasing the building from the city for $1, with the promise of spending at least $1 million on an Asian fusion restaurant on the first floor. The company will pay for the renovations to bring the building up to usability.

There is the potential the company would add two other restaurants in the building for a total $2.5 million to $3 million project. There is the potential for another restaurant – an Italian tapas-style restaurant – on the second floor, an American cuisine-style restaurant on the bottom level and a rooftop dining experience for special events and private parties, said Janet Alikpala, a marketing advisor to Mora Asian Fusion. The company is hoping to open the first restaurant at the Aurora site by the end of 2019.

Urban Equity is also developing the Keystone Building, another historic edifice along Stolp Avenue, near the intersection with Downer Place.

The Keystone Building is also on the National Register, and has been a cornerstone office and retail building in Aurora for years. The plan for Keystone would be 31 residential units, all around 700 square feet, with the current six retail units on the first floor staying intact.

Read The Full Article for project funding information.

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