Former Midland States Bank building, downtown Kankakee

Extensive renovations are planned for the former Midland States Bank building in downtown Kankakee.

KANKAKEE — Redevelopment of downtown Kankakee is gaining momentum as the city council approved four agreements at Monday’s meeting that will help spur that growth.

With those agreements come $44 million worth of planned investments in two separate downtown locations — 316 S. Schuyler Ave. and 197 S. West Ave.

Barbi Brewer-Watson, executive director of the Community Development Agency for the City of Kankakee, said a lot of work went into making the projects happen.

“I’m really lucky to be able to let you guys know how awesome this team is to be able to work with them in a project like this,” Brewer-Watson said. “Two years worth of work, and I think we all have much to celebrate from that so I just wanted to say that and thank you guys.”

All the measures were nine votes for, three abstentions and one absent. Preservation Realty in Inverness, Ill., is the developer in both projects.

For the Schuyler Avenue location, the former Midland States Bank branch, the council approved a recommendation to approve a tax increment finance agreement between the city of Kankakee and East Station Street LLC; a recommendation to approve guaranty agreement between the city and Catalyst Master Tenant LLC; and a recommendation to approve redevelopment agreement for Project Catalyst and the city.

Earlier this year Brian Loftin, of Schaumburg, owner of Preservation Realty, and Joshua Jeffers, of Milwaukee, owner of the real estate development and investment firm, J. Jeffers & Co., closed on the two-story, 22,000-square-foot property at a cost of $338,000.

The redevelopment of the property calls for a business incubator at the site, and it’s to be accompanied by 92 units of new construction apartments.

“They’re going to be built right next to it,” Brewer-Watson said. “That’s one project that is $22 million.”

Work on the former bank building is expected to begin Sept. 1, and to hopefully have it ready for tenants sometime in 2022.

The council also approved the recommendation of a redevelopment agreement of the former Pope Brace building at 197 S. West Ave., just south of the Gas ‘N’ Wash, in the city’s Riverfront TIF district. The Pope Brace building is five stories.

“That’s going to be 35 units of apartments in that building,” Brewer-Watson said. “That is another $22 million of investments.”

Construction on the Pope Brace building is scheduled to begin in February 2022.

Associate Editor

Chris Breach is the Associate Editor of The Daily Journal and the editor of the business section. A graduate of Indiana University, Breach has more than 25 years experience in newspapers. He can be reached at cbreach@daily-journal.com.