The old Colemans Tavern and Grill in Woodstock could soon house a new restaurant if the city goes ahead with an agreement with the new owners.
That first hurdle was cleared when the city passed an executive order that would allow owners to track various expenses that could potentially be reimbursed in the future with tax increase funding, or TIF, District Dollars, and to analyze the site for possible future plans.
Dubbed an incentive agreement, officials in the past with other similar resolutions have described it as the city “dating” developers, creating the potential for a future development agreement. At this time, the city has not allocated taxpayer money to the project.
The issue was unanimously approved by City Council at its Tuesday meeting.
Niko Kanakaris, who is a trustee of the Huntley Village Board and owns a number of restaurants in the McHenry County area, has been working for a number of years to open a new restaurant at the site.
Those plans were put on hold following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Kanakaris said Friday. He estimates it could cost $500,000 to make the building rentable and between $1.5 million and $1.8 million to add more upgrades.
According to the Secretary of State’s records, Kanakaris owns the property through Platinum Property Partners LLC, based in Woodstock.
“[The previous owner] owned it for 25 years,” Kanakaris said. “I don’t think he put anything in it except Band-Aids.”
Colemans, located at 823 Lake Ave. closed in late 2019 after long being a popular destination for city residents, said Garrett Anderson, director of economic development.
“Everyone understands that vacant buildings aren’t helping anyone,” Anderson said. “I think it has a lot of potential to be a really great contribution to the community again.”
Because only an incentive agreement was approved, there aren’t many details about what might happen at the site, Anderson said. There is still work to be done to assess the building and figure out what costs might be involved.
The building is located in the city’s downtown TIF district, which allows some development costs to be recovered with property tax dollars. Tuesday’s new agreement will allow the building’s owners to track costs needed to appraise the property, which could potentially be reimbursed if a development agreement is ever reached.
“It’s pretty early to announce any plans at this point,” Anderson said.
Based on a property sheet provided by Anderson for the building, the owners want to lease the space and highlight the “opportunity to open a fresh new restaurant or retail concept in the former Colemans Tavern.” The quoted lease rate is $7,500 per month.
Kanakaris said they have some interest in the property and that it is open to any kitchen. 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 type of retail store,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be a restaurant.”
The incentive agreement comes a few months after a number of other similar agreements involving other downtown locations. These agreements were approved in July and August and dealt with possible bidders for the empty Die Cast site and the old downtown lumber yard that recently began demolition.
So far, none of these agreements have resulted in development agreements.