YORKVILLE – Pat Harbour has a vision for downtown Yorkville as a dining and entertainment destination.
The Yorkville developer plans to transform three of the historic downtown’s most notable properties into restaurants, drinking establishments, residential apartments and a brewery.
“We’re not going to be Disney, but I see a multi-use entertainment complex,” Harbour said.
One of the properties is the city-owned Van Emmon Activity Center building at the southeast corner of South Bridge Street (Route 47) and East Van Emmon Street.
The other two are located along East Hydraulic Avenue and include the grain elevator and silos that are something of a Yorkville icon, along with the former Farm Service property, which is now vacant.
Harbor told the Yorkville City Council on Sept. 27 that he already has contracts to purchase the silo property and the former FS site.
City officials are eager to sell the Van Emmon Community Center, a former bank building that had once been eyed as the future Yorkville City Hall.
“We’ve all wanted to see this happen,” said high-profile Yorkville attorney Boyd Ingemunson, who is representing Harbour and his KEH Development group in connection with the project.
Aldermen approved a pair of inducement resolutions paving the way for KEH to receive funding from the two tax-increment financing districts in which the properties are located.
“The inducement resolutions commit the City to nothing,” City Administrator Bart Olson said. “They simply state that the developer has requested TIF assistance, that the city has acknowledged that request and that we’ve protected the developer’s ability to receive TIF assistance for items in the future should the city approve a TIF agreement later.”
More directly, the council’s action sets the stage for the city and KEH to begin negotiations over the Van Emmon property, including both the sale price and the details of the redevelopment project.
Harbour said he plans to repurpose the building, rather than tearing it down.
The grain silos also are to be left standing and incorporated into a project that includes a restaurant and brewery.
To the west of silos is the former FS property, which extends from East Hydraulic Avenue a block south to Van Emmon Street. The site is strewn with rubble and only the building’s foundation remains.
Harbour said that underground parking will be a part of the overall project.
“We’re taking advantage of the slope,” Harbor said.
The Van Emmon property, the largest of the three, is first on Harbour’s list for redevelopment and he hopes to get renovations underway next spring.