Joliet plans to spend $820,000 on downtown building

Staff says it needs more room than City Hall provides

The Joliet City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to buy a private office building at 63 W. Jefferson St. for $820,000. May 20, 2024

The city of Joliet appears ready to buy a nearly fully leased private office building downtown.

The City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to spend $820,000 for the building at 63 W. Jefferson St., which is located on the next block east of City Hall.

The matter was on the agenda at the council’s workshop meeting on Monday but there was no discussion on the proposal. The council has not previously discussed acquiring the building in public session.

A staff memo to the council said the city needs the building because space is running low at City Hall.

“Staffing levels at city hall have outgrown existing office space,” the memo states. “This condition has created the need to lease outside office space at significant cost. City staff has explored the option of purchasing additional office space in order to meet the needs of a growing city.”

The city previously leased downtown space for offices, saying its utilities staff had run out of room.

In December 2021, the council approved a three-year lease worth $150,000 at the Two Rialto Square office building owned by John Bays to provide space for the engineering staff of the utilities department.

The private office building that the city of Joliet wants to buy for $820,000 currently is more than 80% leased, a city official said.

The building at 63 W. Jefferson St. “contains 7,090 square feet of office space which will meet the present and future needs of a growing city staff,” the memo states.

The seller of the building, according to city documents, is John Reed, a Joliet attorney who has his office in the 63 W. Jefferson St. building.

Finance Director Kevin Sing said after the Monday meeting that more than 80% of the building is currently leased out.

“It pays for itself,” Sing said.

The $820,000 price is a compromise between the city and seller, according to city officials.

Sing said the city’s appraisal was $770,000.

The city budget for 2024 does not include money for buying the building. The council will need to vote to amend the city budget, which requires a two-thirds majority for approval.

City staff recommends that the council move ahead with the buying the building.