Colemans Tavern site in Woodstock passes first hurdle for possible new business

Coleman’s closed in late 2019 after being popular destination in town, officials said

A pedestrian walks past the former Colemans Tavern & Grill building on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Woodstock.

The old Colemans Tavern and Grill in Woodstock could soon be home to a new restaurant if the city moves forward with an agreement with the new owners.

That first hurdle was passed when the city approved a resolution that will allow the owners to start tracking various expenses that could potentially be reimbursed in the future using tax increment financing, or TIF, district dollars and analyze the site for possible future plans.

Called an inducement agreement, officials in the past with other similar resolutions have described it as the city “dating” the developers, creating the potential for a future development agreement. At this stage, the city has not committed any tax dollars to the project.

The item was passed unanimously by the City Council at its meeting on Tuesday with no discussion.

Niko Kanakaris, who is a Huntley Village Board trustee and owns a number of restaurants around McHenry County, has been working to open a new restaurant at the site for a couple years now.

Those plans were put on hold after the COVID-19 pandemic hit back in 2020, Kanakaris said Friday. He estimates it may cost $500,000 to make the building rentable and between $1.5 and $1.8 million total to add in any further upgrades.

Kanakaris owns the property through Woodstock-based Platinum Property Partners LLC, according to Secretary of State records.

“[The previous owner] owned it for 25 years,” Kanakaris said. “I don’t think he put anything into it except Band-Aids.”

Colemans, located at 823 Lake Ave., closed in late 2019 after being a long-time popular destination for residents in town, Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson said.

“Everybody understands that vacant buildings aren’t helping anybody,” Anderson said. “I think it’s got a lot of potential to become a really great contributor to the community again.”

Since only an inducement agreement has been approved, there is not a lot of detail as to what might go in the spot, Anderson said. There’s still work to do in evaluating the building and figuring out what costs might be incurred.

The building is located in the town’s downtown TIF district, which allows for some costs of development to be reimbursed with property tax money. Tuesday’s new agreement will allow those who own the building to start keeping track of expenses needed for evaluating the property, which could possibly be reimbursed if a development agreement ever comes to fruition.

“It’s pretty early to announce any plans at this point,” Anderson said.

Based on a real estate sheet provided by Anderson for the building, the owners are looking to lease the space and are highlighting the “opportunity to open fresh new restaurant or retail concept in former Colemans Tavern.” The lease rate listed is for $7,500 per month.

Kanakaris said they’ve received some interest in the property, and that it would be open to any cuisine. But he wouldn’t limit it to just restaurants, saying he’s open to anything.

“It could be a doctor’s office, it could be any kind of retail,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be a restaurant.”

The inducement agreement comes a few months after a series of other similar agreements involving other spots downtown. Those agreements were approved in July and August, and dealt with possible suitors for the empty Die Cast site and the old lumber yard downtown, which recently began undergoing demolition.

As it stands, none of those agreements have so far resulted in development agreements.