CL Enterprises says it wants to renegotiate with La Salle on brewpub project

City officials say they are waiting for company to initiate that conversation

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.

CL Enterprises responded Tuesday after the La Salle City Council voted the previous day to terminate an economic development agreement with the company over the construction of a downtown brewpub.

The City Council terminated a Jan. 9, 2023, agreement with 801 First St. building owner CL Enterprises after what council members said Monday have been years of broken promises and lies.

CL CEO Hinesh Patel responded to the termination vote in a news release, saying the decision was disappointing. However, he said, the company remains hopeful that city leaders will choose to revive their support of the project. The agreement expires in June because of technicalities in the contract.

The City Council was critical of CL for not attending Monday’s meeting, including a mention that CL responded to a Shaw Local News Network media inquiry but did not reach out to council members before the vote. As of Wednesday afternoon, CL’s correspondence was mixed among council members after the company reached out to some since Monday but not others. A packet was left by CL at City Hall for all council members.

Patel said the company is willing to meet with city leadership to provide a progress report, at which time the team will present a plan for accelerating key improvements, including completing an upgrade to the building’s facade and finishing the proposed upstairs apartments – also part of the project – by the fall.

Patel said that within the past year the company has hired a new construction manager to specifically oversee the completion of the brewpub project at the former Maytag building. In recent weeks, crews began work to the structure on future underground electric service after waiting six months for approval by the city’s electric utility franchise, Patel said in the release.

“We are, therefore, disappointed by the city’s decision to not welcome and support this investment project for downtown La Salle,” Patel said. “It is a huge undertaking to restore an old structure like the Maytag building, but CLE believes in La Salle, and we want to see this through to completion.”

Patel said the company is contributing to downtown development with the multimillion-dollar project for a modern brewpub and six apartments.

“The Maytag project has taken longer than we ever expected or hoped for, and it has been very disappointing for city leaders, community members and our team,” Patel said.

Alderman T. Boo Herndon said Wednesday that if CL cared about La Salle, it would have completed the projects it started in La Salle before starting and completing ventures in other communities.

“They lack knowledge in communication in dealing with us,” Herndon said. “We’ve already had two different entities reach out to us about the building since Monday and give us a completion date if we were to acquire the building. What does that say about them?”

Patel said CL is on a path to have the brewpub fully operational by this time next year, and the project is worthy of the city’s support with the creation of new jobs, new housing, revenue and a quality dining experience. The brewpub 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.

The tax increment financing agreement between the city and CL presented a timeline for the company to complete work on the project to use $3 million in funds. The latest deadline was May 9, in which the agreement said CL should have its storefront and the six upstairs apartments finished. Neither have been completed.

“CLRED leaders will be reaching out to the mayor and city leaders to encourage their recommitment to economic support, open communication and collaboration for the benefit of the community,” Patel said.

Information was left for council members Wednesday at City Hall, but there was little to no direct communication between CL and city officials, council members said.

Mayor Jeff Grove said that as of 9 a.m Wednesday, no one had reached out to him. Economic Development Director Curt Bedei said he had received no communication. Only Alderman Joe Jeppson had heard anything directly from CL since Monday’s council meeting.

Jeppson said the company left a message through the city’s automated system Tuesday morning, letting him know the company was unaware the council would be voting on the termination of the agreement and it was disappointed with the council’s decision.

Alderman Jerry Reynolds said he imagines that CL still will reach out to him, since it previously had done so.

Aldermen Jim Bacidore, Tom Ptak, John “Doc” Lavieri and Jordan Crane said they also were disappointed by CL’s decision not to communicate with the city throughout the process, not attend the meeting or give a reason for missing the deadline.

Alderman Bob Thompson said he hasn’t been directly contacted by CL and chose not to comment. Grove said that he again was disappointed that CL had the time to write a response to the newspaper when they hadn’t reached out to the city yet.

Nick Fox, vice president of construction and development for CL, attended the April 29 La Salle City Council meeting, where he told council members that he was brought into the brewpub project specifically to get the La Salle location and others “kickstarted” and finished.

The council that night approved the digging of trenches in the alleys for the laying of electrical wiring for the project. Fox said that night that 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. The economic development agreement was not on the agenda that night, however.

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