An Italian-style delicatessen and sweets shop is coming to Yorkville's downtown, and a banquet facility is coming to the city's south side, business representatives learned at a luncheon hosted by the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Jan. 9.
City Administrator Bart Olson gave a presentation at the luncheon on the highlights of last year's business news and some of the big projects coming up in 2018.
Olson said Yorkville resident B.J. Gerl is planning to open an Italian-style delicatessen called Capitano Deli and Sweets at 220 S. Bridge St.
Gerl said the location will be a deli with an old fashioned candy store in a different area of the same space.
Gerl, who has a 14-year-old son with special needs, said he plans to hire only special needs kids to work at the candy store, and some special needs kids to work the deli.
Gerl said he has seen other restaurants hire special needs teens, but often they are the only special needs employees and are alone. He said that being around other special needs teens, for example, brings out his son's personality.
The deli will feature Boar's Head meats and will offer delivery for its hot and cold sandwiches, salads and other offerings, Gerl said.
The deli is slated to open mid-spring, Gerl said.
In other downtown Yorkville development news, 1836 Drink Lab & Provisions, with the same owner and operators as Crusade Burger Bar right down the street, recently opened at the northwest corner of Bridge Street (Route 47) and Van Emmon Street. Your Performing Arts Center (YPAC), formerly known as Yorkville Performing Arts Center, is renovating and has moved into the former Kendall County Record space at 222 S. Bridge St.
Olson said the owner of Riverview Diner in Montgomery, Eleno Silva, is planning to open a banquet facility at Route 47 and Saravanos Drive on the city's south side.
Olson said Silva has purchased a half-finished building and has tentative plans for a 250-to-300-seat banquet facility. Olson said Silva was having to turn down requests for large parties at the diner as its party room has a capacity of 100.
Silva is targeting an opening in late 2018, Olson said.
Also opening later this year is the 90-plus room and suit Holiday Inn Express and Suites hotel in the Kendall Crossing center. The hotel will feature an adjacent 12,000-square foot banquet facility.
The residential areas of the city have seen growth as well, Olson said.
Olson said the city saw the greatest number of new home starts since 2007 last year, The city approved 212 new housing units, which includes 12 townhomes and 51 apartments, Olson said. The number is an increase from 151 in 2016 and 84 in 2015.
The City Council voted to end the BUILD home building incentive program late last year. Olson said that could result in more than $400,000 in building permit revenue to come back to the city this year.
Olson said the City Council's number one goal this year is to target and attract manufacturing and industrial development, particularly along the Eldamain Road corridor.
He said the city will continue to use enterprise zones, which give exemptions of certain state taxes to businesses, to help attract large industrial developers to the Eldamain Road corridor. City officials want to specifically market the Eldamain Road area for those businesses, he said.
"We said certain types of land uses in that area, because it's already zoned and used as an industrial property, are going to be great for expansion in the future," he said. "So let's make sure that everybody in the state that is looking to site a manufacturing or industrial development knows how much land costs, where utilities are, the rail lines and all those other things. It just makes things a little bit easier when somebody comes to us."
In the coming year, Olson said city officials are considering organizing a summit or a group meeting of local manufacturing and industrial business owners to see what the city is getting right and getting wrong in attracting businesses to Yorkville.
Olson said one example of a recently opened business using the state's enterprise zone assistance was Go For It Sports, which opened on Galena Road just east of Route 47. The 58,000-square foot facility features a perimeter track, a turfed infield, basketball court, and classroom space, Olson said.
The city is also seeing highway projects continue this year, including projects on Route 34 and Route 71, and Olson said improvements to Route 47 north of Kennedy Road to Sugar Grove are in the "concept engineering" stage at IDOT.
The project to widen Route 34 east from Route 47 to Orchard Road in Oswego should finish sometime this year, Olson said. Crews have started work improving Route 34 west of Game Farm Road and will finish up that project in 2019, Olson said.
The state should go to bid this spring on construction contracts for the widening of Route 71 from Route 126 to Route 47, but it depends on the state's passage of a budget, Olson said.
Regarding the widening of Route 47 north to Sugar Grove, Olson said the city has gone on record supporting the project widening the highway, but was not in favor of IDOT widening the highway south of town to Morris before working on the northern stretch. Olson said city officials are of the opinion that the northern portion, with more traffic, should have been completed first.
"The north section has higher traffic counts, has a higher accident history, has a lot more issues and, in fairness, is more expensive," Olson said. "We see that as a bigger issue for our residents than the southern section, but now the southern section is done so we'll (focus on) doing the north."
Regarding some recent serious accidents near the intersection of Route 47 and Galena Road, Olson said IDOT had some safety grants to improve that intersection in their budget, but that funding was cut when the state budget was approved late last year. He said city officials will be talking to the state about that funding in the coming year.
After Olson's presentation, Chamber of Commerce Board President Sarah Allen said she appreciated that the city is going to focus on bringing more manufacturing businesses to the city.
"I think it's great that they're going to focus on manufacturing," Allen said. "I think that will, hopefully, bring a lot more businesses to Yorkville and more growth; more economic growth is needed in Yorkville."
Allen said she also hoped that more new homes will continue to be built in the city.
"I think it's really wonderful and encouraging to see how the housing numbers are going up," she said.