DANVILLE – Firewater BBQ & Brew is one of the restaurants slated to open next year in the former Turk Furniture building in downtown Danville.
Danville City Council is expected to follow through on a deal next week to redevelop the former furniture building to house several restaurants and possible residential spaces.
Developers say they are leaning towards an Italian restaurant for a second restaurant in the building.
Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said he’s happy to see more dining options open downtown.
Williams expects construction to begin in November on Firewater, with city council approving the deal next week.
Hopefully Firewater will be open in the spring or summer of 2023, he said.
Williams said it’s the perfect place to catch a lot of lunch deals and for people coming downtown, like the Fischer Theater. It will give people another reason to visit downtown Danville, he added.
Danville Community Development Administrator Logan Cronk said the city has been working on a deal for the site for about two years.
Investment is estimated at $1.8 million on the developer’s side for the redevelopment project, according to Cronk, saying the city’s incentives would total $600,000.
City funding: $400,000 from the general fund and $200,000 from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District. Cronk said that’s all the TIF fund has to offer for that.
He said scheduled refunds for the TIF fund would result in equalized assessed assessment increases within two to three years, and sales tax with only one business moving there, within six to seven years.
Cronk said at least four businesses could move into the building, with at least two to three restaurants on the first floor, and the second floor is always looking for ideas.
“It could be more commercial or residential,” Cronk said of the second floor.
The building is located at 200 N. Vermilion St., downtown, across from the Vermilion County Administration Building on Vermilion Street.
Turk Furniture closed in 2019 after nearly 40 years in business.
Developers are partners Dan Shafron and Mel Yarmat, with Stadium Club Joliet, LLC. They own the building.
The city has had other plans with Yarmat doing business as Cambium Growth Fund III LLC of Crest Hill, Illinois. Yarmat’s other projects have included the Head Start move and offices in the former First Midwest Bank building on East Voorhees Street and the former First Midwest Bank. building in downtown Danville that now houses the Survivor Resource Center.
Cronk said Wednesday that the city is beginning to receive construction drawings for the old Turk Furniture building.
According to Shafron and Yarmat, they have been discussing with the city authorities for some time the possibility of bringing several restaurants here.
The agreement with Firewater is in place, and they were meeting with an architect later Wednesday for a floor plan design.
Firewater has four locations in the Chicagoland area.
Firewater will occupy approximately 5,500 to 6,000 square feet, or approximately one-third of the Danville building’s space. They said the trick right now was to design the building so that there is access to the restaurant from the street and more parking behind the building.
It will be a take-out and on-site restaurant.
Firewater is known for its high quality barbecue and smoked meats. According to its website, it has the flavors, traditions, and hospitality of Southern-style barbecue, perfected in the Windy City.
According to Shafron, Firewater owner Matt Weil pays special attention to the interior design of the restaurant to make it appealing to the community it serves.
While a second restaurant in the building could be Italian, they are keeping the third possibility secret.
They hope to have at least one restaurant open next year. They said interior work on the building should not be a problem this winter for interior renovations.
Whatever they do on the second floor of the building, they also want to make sure there is good access.
“It’s a great second floor. There should be wonderful adaptive reuse,” according to Shafron.
Yarmat has known the Danville Development Area for over 30 years, dating back to business dealings with the Mervis family.
The developers say they had a nice meeting with city officials and a meeting with Firewater BBQ about two years ago for this project. They say Williams and Cronk were “extremely easy to work with”.