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City council agrees on funding for Key Building project

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@chronicle-tribune.com

The Peru City Council has agreed to amend the budget to allow for an additional appropriation to go toward the construction of a building rehabilitation project, which could bring a new local restaurant and brewery to Peru.

Executive Director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA) Jim Tidd brought the project before the council on Monday evening. He explained that with their Key Building program, they identify buildings downtown that are key to the community and would take more work than a paint job or sprucing up.

Tidd said the buildings might have structural damage and are in need of serious rehabilitation to make them usable. One of the first buildings they’ve identified for the program, is the old T.J. Phillips building on 20 E. Fifth St.

After deciding this building is a key part of the community and was in need of some serious work, Tidd said they advertised it in local newspapers for anyone who might have been interested in partnering with the city to develop the building.

There was one response for the building which came from two local businessmen, Jason McClure and Chadd Pattison. Since then, McClure and Pattison and the Key Building program committee have worked to go over rehabilitation plans for the building, code requirements and came up with a budget for putting the building back into a useful state.

McClure addressed the council and said he and Pattison plan to turn the upstairs portion of the building into apartments and the downstairs portion into a pizza restaurant and brewery where they will produce local beer and sodas.

Tidd said the two of them also plan to utilize the alleyway for outdoor seating.

After creating a budget, Tidd said they have set it at $300,000. The proposed agreement was that the city would pay for half, at $150,000.

However, if the cost went up in price by $100,000 – reaching $400,000 – the two developers would be responsible for paying for $50,000 of it and the city would match it with $50,000.

Under this contingency, there is a possibility the city would pay $200,000 but only if the cost of the project reached $400,000.

Additionally, Mayor Gabriel Greer said if the cost were reach above $300,000, the Key Building Program committee would have to approve the additional costs. All of this would incentivise the developers to keep the cost low and to work efficiently, he said.

Greer said McClure and Pattison are both established businessmen who have the qualifications, background and history of being able to run their own businesses.

“Jason has been fermenting apple cider wine and he’s been able to get the current product that he produces distributed through Kroger, so he’s already established himself as being able to produce and market successfully,” he said “... Mr. Pattison has been the contractor that has renovated several buildings in downtown Peru and I know he did a large portion of the downtown buildings in Wabash.”

Tidd said the public partnership between the Key Building Program and the city is necessary to make it feasible for developers and will be an asset in getting empty buildings taken care of.

“We truly believe it’s going to take something like this for those buildings, otherwise they’re going to wind up going back (to the city) and being a candidate for demolition down the road,” Tidd said.

Additionally, nearby communities with similar programs have had success, he said.

The council then voted to adopt the ordinance for additional appropriations, agreeing to the partnership for the T.J. Phillips project.