Invest Aurora announced this week it has presented a loan to the developer of the Gravity Building on South LaSalle Street downtown to help get the building finished.
The not-for-profit redevelopment organization announced a $150,000 loan from the John C. Dunham Revolving Loan program to Jimi Allen.
Allen is in the midst of about a $2.3 million renovation of the historic Coats Building, now known as the Gravity Building, at 56-60 S. LaSalle St. on the East Side of Aurora’s downtown.
Allen is renovating the building into a co-working space and business incubator for start-ups and freelancers. It also will have a banquet facility on the top floor.
The project began in 2013, when Bureau Gravity, a nearby company owned by Allen at 76 S. LaSalle St., entered into a development agreement with the city. As part of the agreement, the city kicked in about $300,000 for the project.
Bureau Gravity has a loan of $1.77 million that it already has used to finish a new facade on the building. The interior work is nearing completion.
Allen bought the Coats Building, first built in 1907 for a car dealership, in 2011 for $256,000. The stretch of LaSalle Street where it’s located is known as the Auto Row Historic District because several car dealerships were housed in buildings there.
In addition to the original grant, the city last year amended the agreement to provide an additional $82,000 grant for technology in the building.
The project has received money from Invest Aurora before, too — a $75,000 finish line grant.
According to a news release this week from Invest Aurora, the revolving loan would bridge the gap so the project can be finished “and bring this innovative new facility to downtown Aurora.”
The Revolving Loan Fund is a new Invest Aurora program aimed at assisting property owners in the downtown. Loans are issued from a pool of more than $1.2 million to finance eligible property rehabilitation for projects that are not commercially bankable.
The Dunham Fund is endowing the revolving fund with $500,000 this year. Three local banks — First Midwest Bank, Old Second National Bank and Aurora Bank & Trust — each will add $15,000. A city of Aurora contribution brings the total to $1.2 million.
The Dunham Fund also endowed the fund with $250,000 last year and plans to endow it with another $250,000 in 2018.