JOLIET – The Tomczak Law Group has purchased the old Liebermann's building, marking an investment in downtown Joliet but also an exit from Rialto Square Theatre office space.
Attorney Jeff Tomczak, who has been in the Two Rialto Square office building since since 2004, said the move is an opportunity for his law firm but also one of some sentimental value.
"The Liebermann's were friends with my wife Amy. Liebermann's jewelers is where I purchased Amy's engagement ring," Tomczak said. "It's one of the things I considered when I bought the building."
Amy Bertani-Tomczak is a circuit court judge in Will County.
Remarking on a "cosmic connection," with his future office space and the space his firm occupies now, Tomczak noted that Amy's father, the late Louis Bertani, once had his law office in the Two Rialto Square Building.
"I sit in Lou Bertani's old office. There always has to be a cosmic connection," Tomczak said.
The Liebermann's building is now vacant but has a place in Joliet history. The Liebermanns, who had a jewelry business dating back to the 1880s, moved the entire building to its present location in 1977 to make room for the parking deck now across the street rather than leave downtown.
The Liebermann's relocation of the building to 81 N. Ottawa St. became a legendary symbol of commitment to downtown Joliet.
Tomczak said there is "a new energy" downtown, which he sees as undergoing a revival with various projects in the works.
"It's really an opportunity. I felt it was the right time to invest in downtown Joliet,' he said.
One of the projects downtown is a new courthouse to be built about a half-block away from the Tomczak Law Group's future office space. The Tomczak Law Group specializes in personal injury and criminal law.
Tomczak said the group expects to move in about five months, occupying most of the 12,000-square-foot building.
In addition to Tomczak, lawyers in the firm include Patricia Kalkanis and Robert Bodach. Staff includes Office Manager Becca Bianchi and legal assistants Annette Kuzma and Brittany Budimier.
The move also means the loss of a tenant at the Two Rialto Square building, where Tomczak Law Group occupies nearly 4,000 square feet.
The Will County Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority, which oversees the Rialto theater and office space, has hired architect and building manager John Olivieri to stem a potential exit of tenants and bring in new ones.
Olivieri, whose contract does not start until September, said he has begun working already on the 2 Rialto Square Building. The building is only 60 percent filled, and about half of the tenants are on month-to-month leases, he said.
"We're sad he's leaving," Olivieri said of Tomczak's exit. "We're going to be making some improvements."