An Urbana emergency room physician has bought the 102 building in Paxton and plans to turn it back into a restaurant.
Dr. Thomas Scaggs, who is the medical director of emergency medical services for Carle Foundation Hospital, bought the property in June.
It is next door to the old bank building at 106 Market Street that he's owned for several years, where he rents space to the owner of Thrifty Tiques.
Scaggs said the apartment at 106 shares the space with the three apartments above the 102.
He said the price was right and he's already begun rehabbing the apartments. Scaggs hopes to bring in a "big name local chain" restaurant to occupy the retail space which has housed a restaurant, when not vacant, in recent memory. He is in discussion with someone and his goal is to have a "significant" restaurant open within six months.
Scaggs also plans to redo the facade completely, eliminating the cedar shake-covered overhang so that the front is all brick. "It will be completely changed," he said.
Scaggs has been in discussion with Mayor Bill Ingold and the city's tax increment financing district attorney about his plans and is approved for some reimbursement of his costs in the future. The TIF, only recently implemented, will have barely $10,000 by year's end in a fund to use for projects in its boundaries.
Scaggs, 50, said he has "had my eye on" the property for a while and feels good about Paxton. Doing business as Scaggs Properties LLC, Scaggs owns multiple properties in Champaign and Urbana and one in Monticello.
This week, the Paxton City Council increased the number of liquor licenses for full alcohol services at a restaurant from three to four. That is in anticipation of the 102's reopening as well as a planned Mexican restaurant for the Marshall building at the north end of the downtown.
Scaggs bought the 102 from the Gifford State Bank, which acquired the deed for the property in May 2012 following foreclosure proceedings.
A now-dissolved corporation — 102 Inc. — owned the property and operated a restaurant there before the bank acquiring it. The Paxton-based corporation bought the property in October 2003.
The building has had several other owners over the last several decades. Donald "Bus" Schif operated "The 102 Lounge" until his death in the 1980s. Despite being sold several more times — first in 1986 — the building continued to be primarily used as a restaurant, usually operating under the name "The 102 Lounge," for more than two decades.