The Finance Committee of the Aurora City Council Tuesday recommended eight transactions involving downtown property that include private business, the city and its not-for-profit development arm, Invest Aurora.
“I really appreciate what you’re doing here,” said Ald. Ted Mesiacos, 3rd Ward, a Finance Committee member, to David Huselberg, Invest Aurora director. “A lot of this is in response to concerns from the City Council, and you’re trying to revitalize the downtown business community.”
The proposed transactions involve five properties along Broadway, and many of them involve current businesses or future ones looking to open.
• The city spending $107,000 to buy a small building at 7 S. Broadway. The current owner, Gary Brown, would rent the building for $10 a month, and also would pay taxes and the special service area payments. He owns an art gallery and workshop in the building, and would continue to do so.
Hulseberg said the city is in the midst of acquiring all the buildings in the block bounded by Broadway, Downer Place, Galena Boulevard and the Fox River.
• The city buying property at 15 to 17 S. Broadway for $285,000 with the intention of eventually releasing it to a restaurant. Hulseberg said there is no prospective restaurant at the moment, but the city can market the building once it owns it. It includes a basement that can be used as a banquet hall.
The property has been the subject of an eviction battle in court for some time, Hulseberg said.
• The city bringing Aurora Botanicals, a business that sells garden plants, decorations, gourmet food baskets and candy, to a building the city already owns at 13 S. Broadway. Aurora Botanicals has been a regular at city markets, and is now opening a retail store.
The city would rent the building to the company for $10, and the company would pay to renovate the space. As the two previous buildings, it is in the block the city is trying to control, so all the leases have a year’s notice for the tenants to leave, if the city gets a large, single developer for the whole block.
• Sale of a vacant lot next to the building at 66 to 74 S. Broadway to Elemy, LLC, owners of that building. They could develop a parking lot on the space to complement the about $1.5 million redevelopment of the building they are doing. It eventually will include studios for things like yoga, residences and meeting rooms.
“We think this is advantageous to the property owner,” Hulseberg said.
• The city leasing a small part of an existing parking lot to Fifth Third Bank on the southwest corner of Downer and Broadway. Hulseberg said the lease would actually allow both the city and the bank to reconfigure the lot to pick up more spaces.
• The city spending $80,000 to buy a three-story building at 110 S. LaSalle St. and tear it down, adding to the parking lot the city already owns next door. It also would spend about $22,000 to buy a vacant lot next to the building, at 120 S. LaSalle St., to also add to the city lot.
• The city selling a small, 1,400-square-foot piece of right-of-way on the eastern edge of the historic Aurora Silverplate Building at Downer Place and Stolp Avenue to the owners of the historic building.
The sale would allow Michael and Esther Saltijeral, building owners, access to the basement of the Silverplate building to enhance the development plans they have for the building. They intend to put an ice cream shop in the first floor, and a speakeasy-type of lounge in the basement. The right-of-way sale would allow them access to a door that goes to the basement, and they also could put in outdoor dining at the site, Hulseberg said.
The development also would include two apartments on the second floor and a loft-style apartment on the third floor.
“This will be a million-dollar project,” Hulseberg said.
“It’s exciting to see something happening on this corner,” added Mesiacos.