A Joliet City Council committee has given preliminary approval to tax incentives for private redevelopment of the Two Rialto Square building.
Developer John Bays acquired the building in December, which had been part of the Rialto Square Theatre complex and had fallen into disrepair.
Bays said Wednesday he has spent $150,000 so far on renovations and expects the project to accelerate if the tax increment financing package is approved by the City Council next week.
“In my opinion, this will be the nicest building downtown except for the courthouse when I’m done with it,” Bays said, referring to the new Will County courthouse now under construction.
Two new tenants have been lined up for the building, including the Will County Regional Office of Education, he said.
The Economic Development Committee voted, 3-0, for the TIF package Tuesday.
TIF incentives typically allow a developer to keep the incremental amount of property taxes generated by building improvements to offset the costs of the project.
The increment for the Two Rialto Square building should be substantial, since it previously was not subject to property taxes as a public building owned by the Will County Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority. The authority oversees the Rialto.
The TIF agreement for Two Rialto Square, however, provides the city with $25,000 of the incremental taxes each year, according to a staff memo. That money could be used for future downtown improvements, including the development of a plaza across Chicago Street from Two Rialto Square and the Rialto Square Theatre, the memo states.
Bays at one time planned to put a hotel on the top floors of the six-story building. He may do that, Bays said, but only if the building does not fill up with office users. He is considering either a hotel or luxury apartments for the top two floors as an option if they are not used for offices, Bays said. He also plans to put a restaurant on the first floor.