The is negotiating to buy the , with plans to make the repairs that have kept the downtown restaurant from selling since its November 2010 closure.
“Yes, we’re looking at it,” Mayor Michael Collins said. “It should be finalized soon.”
The purchase and renovation work, which includes roof repairs and basement mold removal, will be funded with money in the special taxing district that encompasses downtown, Mayor Michael Collins said. No money from the village’s general fund will be required.
Once the work is completed, the property will go back on the market, he said.
Collins would not say how much the village has tentatively agreed to pay for the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church-turned-restaurant at 24018 W. Lockport St., but it is significantly less than the $759,000 price tag set when previous owners, Frank and John Perri Jr., attempted to sell it in 2010.
According to online sites, the 5,500-square-foot building is currently being listed by Millco Investments for $319,000. It has been in foreclosure for at least a year.
“There are a lot of people who have looked at it, but they’ve held off (on making an offer) because of the damage,” Collins said. Among them were representatives of Plymouth Congregational Church, which is located next door, he said.
The mold in the basement is particularly substantial, apparently because it was never properly contained after a pipe broke several years ago, he said. Initially, Plainfield officials thought they could use village employees to do the remediation work but have since learned specialists will be needed to ensure the cleanup meets Illinois Environmental Protection Agency standards.
Collins declined to discuss the repair work price tag because the proposal is still under discussion.
The building purchase must be approved by the village board before it can be enacted. That should happen sometime in the next month or two, Collins said.
Baci, a mainstay of downtown Plainfield for 20 years, anchors a prime Lockport Street location just west of Route 59. At the time it closed, the real estate agent marketing the property on behalf of the owners said the Italian restaurant was a victim of the economy and the three-year Route 59 widening project.
However, some charged the owners had let the business slide in recent years, citing a decline in the quality of the cuisine and the upkeep of the restaurant itself.
The village also took some criticism for giving the owners a façade grant only to have them close the business less than a year later, prompting the village board to adopt new rules that put more restrictions on how the grants are awarded.
Money for the purchase and repairs will come from the village's downtown tax increment financing -- or TIF -- district fund. It's a way of subsidizing improvements in a specific area by having a municipality pay for the work upfront and then be reimbursed by the increased taxes generated by the improved district. Once the debt is covered, the increased tax money is allowed to accrue in a fund to pay for future projects that will benefit the district and generate more new property taxes.