Article Published by Aurora Beacon-News | View Article
Author: Steve Lord
Aurora this week approved a contract with a commercial real estate broker to market four downtown properties.
Aldermen voted 9-2 to contract with Naperville-based Caton Commercial Real Estate Group to find tenants for buildings at 35 W. New York St., 5 E. Downer Place, 33 S. Broadway and 51 E. Galena Blvd.
“We hope to bring new and exciting tenants to downtown,” said Autumn Psaros, Caton Commercial senior vice president.
The contract is between Caton and Invest Aurora, the city’s not-for-profit development arm, and is aimed at finding tenants that match Invest Aurora’s and the city’s master plan for downtown.
The program is seen as a pilot using the four properties. Invest Aurora officials have said that in seeking tenants for the buildings, city officials want users consistent with what the public wants.
About three years ago, between 150 and 200 people responded to an Invest Aurora retail survey about the types of businesses people wanted to see downtown. David Dibo, Aurora’s economic development director, has said the downtown master plan “defined what the city should look like.” It included small, local, niche businesses, he said.
But he added city officials are “very cognizant” of gentrification issues, and not driving existing business and residents out.
Psaros has said Caton Commercial is not trying to change the existing plan, just achieve some of the goals already in place.
Caton was chosen from five commercial brokers because of its understanding of downtown, officials have said. The company has already done work in Aurora, having helped the city bring Amy Morton and her restaurant, Stolp Island Social, to the restaurant suite in the Aurora Arts Center.
The company, which is family-owned, has recently entered into an alliance with an Aurora-based family commercial real estate company, Dolan & Murphy, Inc.
Two aldermen, Emmanual Llamas, 1st Ward, and Judd Lofchie, 10th Ward, voted against the deal.
Lofchie, himself a commercial real estate broker, said he thought 8% commission for a sale is too high, and also said he would like to see no commission for renewals.