Business, Local News

Homewood receives three proposals for redeveloping former Karate Kids building

Homewood trustees will have three options to consider when deciding the next use for the building at 2018-2020 Ridge Road. The village received one bid initially and received two alternate bids before the June 11 deadline.

Three potential developers have bid on the building at 2018-2020 Ridge
Road, which has been owned for several years by the Village of Homewood.
It served briefly as an annex for the Homewood Science Center and
previously was home to Karate Kids. (Chronicle file photo)

The village is required by law to seek alternative bids when it considers a proposal to purchase village-owned property in a tax increment financing district (TIF). The building at 2018-2020 Ridge is in the Downtown Transit-Oriented TIF District.

This is the first time in recent memory that alternative bids were submitted for village-owned property, according to Economic and Community Development Director Angela Mesaros. She has been with the village for more than seven years.

Grace Yan Cui of Chicago Investment Group recently approached the village with a proposal to purchase the building and redevelop the site as a Mongolian barbecue restaurant.

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When trustees approved a measure to advertise for alternative bids during the May 14 board meeting, Trustees Allisa Opyd and Lauren Roman urged staff to go beyond the statutory requirement of posting the ad in a newspaper of record.

In addition to the newspaper notice, staff posted the invitation for alternate bids on the village’s website and social media pages, Mesaros said.

Mesaros said she received a number of inquiries from people with ideas for the space, but some would not fit zoning requirements and some were from people who admitted they did not have the financial resources to renovate the building. The building currently does not meet code.

When the agenda for the June 11 board meeting was published, no alternate proposals had been submitted, Mesaros said in a memo to the board. But at the meeting, she announced that two had been received before the 5 p.m. deadline.

One of the new proposals was for Peeled and Pressed Juice and Smoothie Bar by 9inety 2wo Minerals LLC. The proposal describes the vision for the establishment as “a welcoming bright casual café with lots of greenery for a clean fresh and minimalistic aesthetic.”

The other new proposal was submitted by Josh Argue for a facility called Black House Community Studios, which he described as a “vibrant, vintage-modern creative arts studio for Black Awesomeness FilmWorks.”

“These two will be evaluated by staff and we will come back to the next meeting with a recommendation,” Mesaros said. The next board meeting will be June 25.

Roman thanked staff for the extra effort to get the word out to the community about the alternative bid invitation.

“That was a very transparent way,” she said. 

Opyd agreed.

“I’m glad to see we had other proposals come through. but I’m also glad we’re going through this vetting process,” she said.

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