YORKVILLE — Interior building renovations are well underway at a commercial building in downtown Yorkville that will soon house a drug production facility and faucet room, as well as a cafe and residential apartments.
Foxes Den Meadery and Iconic Coffee Shop will occupy space inside the large two-story structure at 101 S. Bridge St. (Route 47) at the northwest corner of Bridge and West Hydraulic Streets, along from the south side of the Fox River.
The Williams Group is renovating the structure, more recently known as the Investor Tools building, but best identified by the “Dickson 1954” tablet inscribed on the brick facade of the building.
A new sign on the south side of the building now identifies the commercial development as Riverside Plaza.
Even as construction continues inside the building, Yorkville City Council has been busy changing the city’s liquor and zoning codes to accommodate the development.
In April, the aldermen implemented a new liquor license classification for micro-wineries, which will allow meed wine to be made and consumed on-site.
On June 14, the city council approved an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance, incorporating micro wineries into the classification used for microbreweries and breweries.
Foxes Den Meadery will use the basement of the building for production and the first floor for a bar serving the fermented drink. The aldermen also changed the classification to remove the requirement for these establishments to sell food.
Mead has been produced and consumed since ancient times. The alcoholic beverage is made by fermenting honey mixed with water and often with additional ingredients including fruit or grains. The drink is often described as a honey wine.
The Class M liquor license permits the production of less than 155,000 gallons of beer or 50,000 gallons of wine per year for sale on-site for consumption on the business or off-site.
The license also allows customers to take a partially consumed bottle for off-premises consumption.
“A partially consumed bottle of wine that is to be removed from the premises must be securely sealed by the Licensee or an agent of the Licensee prior to its removal from the premises and placed in a clear single-use tamper-evident bag,” under of the city ordinance.
Under the Class M license, the mead taproom will be permitted to sell alcoholic beverages from other manufacturers, as long as these represent less than 50% of the company’s sales.
City administrator Bart Olson said the requirement will ensure these establishments remain a craft facility and not a conventional tavern.
Also occupying space on the first floor is the Iconic Coffee Shop, which has already placed its logo in a shop window overlooking Bridge Street.
Other windows on the facade of the building remain boarded up as construction work continues inside.
There is space for another business on the first floor with the tasting room and cafe, while the second floor is being converted into space for two residential apartments.
The city and the Williams Group worked on an incentive agreement for the $1.6 million redevelopment project, which includes the cost of acquiring ownership of the building and interior and exterior improvements.
Improvements may be reimbursed up to 25% of the total by the city’s district tax increase fund, Olson said. As an added incentive, the city is waiving some building permit fees.
In exchange, the agreement calls for the development to grant land easements to the city.
One of the easements would run along the south bank of the Fox River from the bridge west to a point near the old post office, now occupied by the Yorkville Parks and Recreation Department but which will be soon to be sold for refurbishment.
The city already owns and operates Riverfront Park on the south side of the river just east of the bridge.
The other easement would be near the northwest corner of West Hydraulic and South Bridge streets next to the building.
The highly visible location is where the city has had its eye on the installation of a sculpture or other form of artwork.
The city does not yet have concept plans for the park or the width of the easement for the linear stretch of waterfront property.
However, the agreement requires the easements to be agreed to no later than the end of 2023 so that the development can begin receiving TIF district funds.