Geneva aldermen to consider redevelopment of Mill Race Inn at special COW

Plan includes nearly $12M of public funds in partnership with Shodeen

GENEVA – Geneva aldermen will consider a redevelopment plan for the former Mill Race Inn site that includes a public subsidy of nearly $12 million toward the Shodeen Family Foundation's nearly $40 million project at a special Committee of the Whole meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public may not attend in person, but can watch the meeting via livestream. The public may comment in advance or during the meeting via email at publiccomment@geneva.il.us.

The Shodeen Family Foundation bought the former Mill Race Inn at 4 E. State and adjoining property that extends to the Routes 38 and 25 intersection at 12 E. State St. The city and Shodeen hosted a series of charrette meetings with public input last year, exploring different designs and uses for the property.

The city’s interest was to arrive at a consensus to improve the gateway to the city, improve economic conditions, stimulate commercial and residential growth and enhance the tax base, officials said.

The latest design, posted on the city's website at geneva.il.us, shows some 116 rental apartments, eight townhouses and 2,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, 155 covered parking spaces and public riverfront improvements including seasonal commercial space.

It anchors the corner with three upper floors joined by glass walkways atop an open, sweeping entryway to the Fox River at the corner of Routes 38 and 25.

Documents in the agenda packet stated the public and aldermen raised concerns about the redevelopment strategy, “and it was clear that consensus had not been reached.” So the council last year passed a resolution establishing development parameters to allow the project to continue.

The committee’s two recommendations will be to approve a draft resolution to establish a preferred redevelopment plan and authorizing Hitchcock Development Group to begin the entitlement process – the process of developing an effective design which addresses zoning, city codes and requirements.

The committee’s second draft resolution sets basic parameters for the economic incentives necessary for the Mill Race Inn redevelopment plan that leverages public resources to stimulate private growth.

The Shodeen Family Foundation will be contributing $27.8 million or 70.08% toward the $39.6 million project. The city would contribute 29.92% or $11.8 million of a public subsidy, the resolution states.

The contribution would be in the form of a $9.1 million bond issue and “pay as you go reimbursement in the amount of $2,749,743,” the resolution states.

The resolution states, “It is in the best interest of the city of Geneva to enter into a public private partnership with basic parameters as defined herein,” and authorize the city attorney and bond counsel to further the terms and draft a redevelopment agreement.