Plainfield ready to hear proposals on former downtown restaurant
By Madhu Mayer For The Herald-News September 25, 2012 8:12AM
Updated: October 28, 2012 6:55AM
PLAINFIELD — The village of Plainfield is hoping prayers will be answered concerning a former church building the municipality owns.
The Plainfield Village Board on Monday learned from staff that the former Baci restaurant at 24018 W. Lockport St., which once housed a church and had been closed since 2010, is now in condition to be shown to prospective investors.
“The village is proceeding with a preparation for a request for proposal for the future redevelopment of the old St. Mary’s Church, which was purchased by the village of Plainfield this year,” said Michael Garrigan, village planner.
“As originally outlined by staff, our goal in the purchase of this historic building was to secure the building and address any further deterioration by mitigating the existing mold problems throughout the structure and replacing the damaged roof on the building.
“Both of these projects have been completed,” he said.
This year, the village bought the foreclosed property for $125,000, which basically represents the land value. Originally, the nearly 6,000-square-foot building was listed for more than $800,000. An Internet listing for the building asked for a purchase price around $320,000.
Village Administrator Brian Murphy said general funds were not used to buy the property or fix it. Instead, the village is using money from the downtown tax increment financing (TIF) fund, which is a public financing method that is used for subsidizing redevelopment, infrastructure and other projects.
Mold removal and roof repairs to the former Baci building cost more than $67,000.
Additionally, according to Garrigan, staff proceeded with a limited demolition of the interior to open up the original sanctuary of the church and restored the building to its historical interior appearance and condition when it was originally converted into the “sanctuary restaurant.”
“Staff believes that the current open feeling of the sanctuary provides for more redevelopment opportunities,” said Garrigan, adding that the plan is for the village to accept the request for proposals until May 10, 2013.
The request for proposal, Garrigan continued, is the first step in the public process that will attract the right type of developer to find a new commercial reuse of the building.
Trustee Paul Fay said he is glad to see the downtown building finally ready for commercial development.
“It is not unusual for municipalities to purchase properties (especially to restore it),” said Fay.