CL hopes brewpub TIF deal in La Salle will be extended

La Salle City Council weighing more time for delayed project

A view of the Maytag property building on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 in La Salle. in January 2023, The City of La Salle gave CL Real Estate Development sixteen months to complete renovations on the so-called Maytag property at 801 First Street in La Salle.

The La Salle City Council is expected to discuss the future of the proposed Rocket Brewpub, a restaurant/multi-use building within the same business group as the Lone Buffalo/Tangled Roots establishments in Ottawa.

The tax increment financing agreement has expired between the city and CL Real Estate that would facilitate the $3 million conversion of the former Maytag building at 801 First St. into the new brewery/restaurant with six apartments on the upper floor.

The project has encountered several delays over the last few years and is currently incomplete, leading to questions among those who were expecting it to be finished and operating by the agreement’s goal of March 2024.

The City Council now will decide whether it wants to extend the agreement, which has a life through 2031. A TIF does not reach into municipal funds or increase taxes. A TIF is the difference in tax revenue from before a development project to after, when the property has increased in real estate value and thus generates more tax revenue.

“The city has the option to discontinue the TIF and we hope that they’ll continue it,” said Inga Carus, who with her husband, Peter Limberger, own the family investment company, CL Enterprises. “They’re obviously disappointed that the project was delayed and I certainly understand that. It’s just that we’ve had these unfortunate delays, stuff that has not been in our control, and we’ve been working through these issues as best we can.”

Interior buildout of the apartments at 801 First St.

Carus said that the project would become “less attractive” without the TIF, especially in light of the other much larger projects that CL Enterprises and the Carus family have in the works.

The project has been discussed since at least November 2018, with initial projections of a fall 2019 completion, then a 2020 finish. A formal groundbreaking was held in January 2020 for the brewpub project.

Carus said the delays in the brewpub’s construction stem from several factors, including COVID-related interruptions in the supply chain, an ongoing legal battle with the project’s original contractor and the shift in focus following the January 2023 fire at the Carus Chemical plant, which was .

However, the restaurant project now is able to move forward, Carus said. According to Carus, by this fall the facade will be done, as will all the landscaping and the upstairs apartments. The project has used the delays to modify the brewpub’s layout concept, including relocating the bar and adding more areas for private dining and events.

The La Salle council on Monday approved the digging of trenches in the alleys for the laying of electrical wiring for the structure.

Nick Fox, vice president of construction and development for CL, said during Mondays council meeting he was brought on specifically to get the La Salle location and others “kick started” and finished.

Fox said the request will start the process of getting Ameren into the building by upgrading the service, bringing it down the alley and into the space.

“It’ll be a very narrow trench,” he said. “I’ll put stone back in and four inches of asphalt on top.”

City Attorney James McPhedran said during the April 29 meeting the item pertained only to digging trenches for electrical wiring and not the upcoming TIF deadline.

However, Alderman Jim Bacidore questioned Fox about the project and the Kaskaskia Hotel, which also is owned by CL.

“When do you think you’ll have it done?” Bacidore asked.

“We’re working on the base building now and the apartments above,” Fox said. “We held off on the site work concrete because of the weather and now once we get the underground in I can finish ... probably another two or three months for the storefront to get replaced.”

Mayor Jeff Grove said the deadline for the project would soon pass (and it has) and the city would be reaching out to Fox. No TIF money has been given to CL at this time.

“I have one more question. You’re with CL: Do they have any plans at all for the hotel?” Bacidore asked.

“Yes, there are plans for the hotel. I don’t know more than I can say at this time,” Fox said.

“Do they have somebody in charge of that project?” Bacidore asked.

“That would be me,” Fox said. “All the plans are done and ready to go.”

“Well, they’ve been telling us that for like 10 years,” Bacidore said, referencing the hotel’s revival was announced in 2015. In 2016, a timeline to finish construction and renovation by late 2018 was set, but not met.

“For the entire council, I can’t speak to the past. All I can speak to is what I’m going to do in the future. And that’s why they brought me on – to do that,” Fox said.

Fox said a lot has been accomplished during his short time. Crews have cleaned the inside of the hotel, made it safe and prepared it to start the construction process.

“We’re committed to doing this,” Carus said. “We realize it’s going slower than planned, which is unfortunate, but we are committed. We wanted to open in 2022 and if it hadn’t been for those problems, it would be open by now.”

Interior of Maytag building at 801 First St. in La Salle.

In addition to investing more than $50 million over the last two years with the rebuilding and expanding of the Carus plant, there is also the renovation of the old Kaskaskia Hotel and the continued upgrades on the Hegeler-Carus Mansion as a tourist attraction.

Carus said the $40 million Kaskaskia project had its financing all lined up and construction ready when the pandemic hit in February of 2020. Because of the uncertainty on a national level, the banks pulled out and they are starting to show interest again, she said.

In the interim, CL Real Estate has continued to work on the project, acquiring most of the other properties around the Kaskaskia and updating the concept. Just recently, a large hotel chain has shown interest in the La Salle landmark.

The mansion, located on the east side of the city, also creates revenue, annually drawing 3,000 to 4,000 visitors.

“The city is important to Carus and CL Enterprises and I hope we are important to the city of La Salle,” Carus said, “not just because of Carus as a large employer but because of the other investments we’re making.”

Tangled Roots has restaurants in Ottawa, Washington and Lockport with locations in Vernon Hills and Barrington in the works, according to its website. A location in DeKalb had opened, then closed recently.

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