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Woodstock City Council to talk eminent domain, loan for Sofie's Whiskey & Wine business

Council member co-owns land needed for roundabout

Woodstock council member Jim Prindiville speaks during a Woodstock City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 in Woodstock.
Woodstock council member Jim Prindiville speaks during a Woodstock City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 in Woodstock.

Woodstock City Council will meet Tuesday to talk about using eminent domain to acquire a council member’s property and a loan for a new whiskey and wine business.

Sofie’s Whiskey and Wine plans to open in the former Bohn’s Ace Hardware building, 150 S. Eastwood Drive. The bar will offer sandwiches and appetizers with an American farm-to-table theme, and have a full liquor bar and video gaming, according to city documents. The owners want to take advantage of Woodstock’s Revolving Loan Fund program.

The program provides business owners with low-interest loans for expansion and relocation costs. Sofie’s Whiskey and Wine has requested $15,000 toward its $105,000 build-out project in the leased space, according to city documents.

Woodstock’s revolving loan fund has a current balance of about $30,000. The bar owners would have to pay back the loan over five years, and the city would collect 2% interest, according to city documents.

The building owner plans to transform the 24,000-square-foot building into a four-tenant shopping center. Holzlager Brewing Company is already planned for the unit adjacent to Sofie’s Whiskey and Wine. The building owner is in the process of negotiating with a retail business and restaurant for the remaining two units, according to city documents.

City Council members on Tuesday also will discuss beginning the eminent domain process to acquire property from Throop Street LLC, which council member Jim Prindiville co-owns, according to city documents.

Eminent domain is a legal process that allows governmental bodies to acquire private property for municipal or public welfare purposes. A roundabout is planned for the intersection of Lake, South and Madison streets but the city must acquire the six parcels of land surrounding the five-way intersection so construction work can commence.

Throop Street LLC owns the parcel at 302 Madison St. Under Illinois law, the city can’t enter into a contract with a seated council member or pay him for a temporary construction easement, both of which are required for the project, according to city documents.

The city must have the property appraised and then negotiate with the property owners to determine a fair price. If an agreement can’t be reached, the city can file an eminent domain complaint and let a judge or jury determine how much the city should pay for the property, according to city documents.

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