Danville council to decide on incentives for law office

Danville council to decide on incentives for law office

DANVILLE — The Danville city council will decide Tuesday night whether to give final approval to a redevelopment agreement with an attorney who wants to build a new law office across from the Danville Public Library in downtown.

The agreement would provide attorney Baku Patel with about $65,000 in total assistance from the city in developing property at the corner of Seminary and North Vermilion Street across from the library.

It has been a gas station and auto repair shop in the past, so there are environmental concerns with the lot, which is vacant, and the city is addressing those environmental concerns in its Brownfield program, a United States Environmental Protection Agency program that determines what the concerns are and guidance in how to eliminate any concerns. The program is helpful in clearing some properties that are suspected of having environmental concerns but further testing reveals the opposite, which can make them more attractive to developers.

The city council's public services committee already considered the agreement, and some aldermen did not support it, but the agreement still moves to the full city council for consideration at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the city council chambers at the municipal building, 17 W. North St., Danville.

Patel plans to build a new law office on this property. He currently leases space in downtown Danville, and has a law office in Champaign-Urbana.

The proposed site sits within the city's Midtown Tax Increment Financing District, and that's where the city would get the funding for the redevelopment agreement.

According to Chris Milliken, planning and zoning manager, the city would buy the property for $55,000 from the current owner, Harold Smith. The city would demolish the existing building and pavement and enroll the property in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's remediation program, which would address any environmental issues on the property. Once the agency issues a letter clearing the property of any remediation on the environmental issues, which could take 6 to 8 months, the city would sell the property to Patel for $35,000. He would then build a new law office on that corner. In addition, the city would reimburse Patel a portion of his property taxes for 12 years, not to exceed $25,000.

Milliken said all of the assistance from the city, including the property tax relief, demolition and money toward the property purchase, would total about $65,000, and all that money would come from the city's Midtown tax increment fund. In a tax increment district, a portion of the property tax revenue generated by the properties in that district is funneled into a city fund and those dollars are to be reinvested into the district to help spur economic development and increase the property tax base.

Milliken said during the Brownfield assessment on this property, it was determined that there was some petroleum that leaked from the old underground storage tanks and petroleum that leaked into the ground from underneath the building that's on the lot. But that doesn't automatically require cleanup involving physically removing the petroleum underground, according to Milliken. He said most likely physical removal will not be necessary because the law office can be built on the site without disturbing the ground below. If cleanup is necessary, however, Milliken said it would be minimal, and the Brownfield grant would pay for it.

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