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Two requests for proposals submitted for old county jail

For now, there are two groups that have submitted formal requests for proposals to the City of Yorkville to buy and rehab the old county jail.

The City Council looked at and discussed two requests for proposals, or RFPs, for the old jail that were submitted by the city’s deadline during their Tuesday, March 27 meeting. Those RFPs include a for-profit group with Chicago ties and Imperfect Angels, a non-profit mentorship organization for young women based out of Aurora.

No vote was taken during the meeting regarding the old jail RFPs. Aldermen Ken Koch, Jason Peterson and Carlo Colosimo were absent from the Tuesday meeting.

The for-profit proposal said developers are willing to preserve the building’s historic elements as much as possible and includes two commercial spaces on the ground level and two residential units on the second floor, which may change after further market analysis. If approved, construction is anticipated to take 10 months after approval, according to the proposal.

The developers are offering the city $1,000 initially to purchase the property, according to their proposal. The preliminary construction budget is set to total $480,224 and may include tax increment financing assistance from the city upon further discussion.

Peter McKnight – who is from Spartanburg, South Carolina but graduated from Loyola University of Chicago – is one of the for-profit proposal representatives who has experience in commercial and residential development since 1988. He said another option that the development team is also considering is bringing a microbrewery into the old jail building, but it’s only a possibility for now.

“This was a suggestion by an individual, an architect who has experience in restoration in historical buildings, as one of the most successful ways of rehabbing historic buildings that have difficulties,” McKnight said.

The non-profit proposal from Imperfect Angels includes small-business studio suites on the first floor, and a shelter and resource center for women in hardships and a community center for public use on the second floor. The proposal also includes a detailing and car wash business on the ground floor of an attached structure to the original building and a residential rental unit on the second floor.

Imperfect Angels is offering a $500 purchase price for the city and are anticipating more than $250,000 in rehab costs, according to their proposal. They are also anticipating other funding coming from tax increment financing assistance from the city, tax-credit assistance programs if applicable, grants and sponsorships.

According to Imperfect Angels’s proposal, the project is expected to take about two years after setting an agreed start date with the city, if approved.

Jetara Perry, executive director for Imperfect Angels, did not attend the Tuesday meeting.

Joel Frieders, Ward 3 alderman for Yorkville, said he’s not worried about the site plan or proposals being perfect, but he cited concerns like whether a for-profit or non-profit would get a loan for the project more easily, which option would bring in more money for the city, how much money the city would still have to kick in after all, or if the microbrewery option in the for-profit proposal would mean considering what kind of vehicles would be traveling on nearby streets.

“This isn’t something that we can make a decision on tonight, especially since we’re missing three” council members, Frieders said.

City officials said they may include additional requests for proposals in their decision-making process, but the two RFPs that were submitted by deadline and reviewed during the City Council meeting on Tuesday take priority.

The City Council will revisit the matter and will be up for a potential vote again during their next meeting 7 p.m. April 9 at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road.

City officials have said preference will be given to proposals that reuse the historic building in a way that preserves its historic significance and will still generate tax revenue for the city. According to the RFP, demolition would have only been considered if no feasible proposals were received for rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the building.

Lisa Wolancevich, chairwoman for the Yorkville Historical Preservation Society, said the group is hopeful that the city will go with an option where the building can be preserved.

“That’s we’re hoping for, to save what’s left of the history and we can actively help whoever takes the building in whatever way we can assist going forward,” Wolancevich said.

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