Initially, the group had wanted to lease the Limestone site for the company’s new Public Brewing Company, co-owner Steve Cin said. However, once they saw Limestone’s interior, which was damaged when Limestone removed its equipment, they realized it might be smarter just to purchase the entire site.
So they did, at a bankruptcy auction held Wednesday, Cin said.
The North Plainfield Crossing mall at 12337 S. Route 59 had been owned by Ardmin Properties, which filed for bankruptcy last year. The 55,000-square-foot strip center was in foreclosure, with Ardmin owing about $8.5 million to lender RBS Citizens N.A. at the time.
Cin declined to disclose the sale price other than to say they had secured a very good deal.
Public Brewing will be a new venture for Cin and his partners, who own Tommy Nevin’s pubs in Naperville, Frankfort and Evanston and Pete Miller’s Seafood and Prime Steak in Evanston and Wheeling. Cin said they’re excited about branching out into making their own beer; they want to pick up where Limestone left off.
After several months of attempting to settle a rent dispute with Ardmin, Limestone owners ended their business in late March and plan to reopen this summer at 4030 Fox Valley Center Drive, near the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora.
Being able to open Publc Brewing in a place that people already associate with a brew pub, coupled with a chance to gain a foothold in Plainfield, made it a lucrative concept for Cin and his partners, Cin said.
“We’ve been looking at Plainfield for some time now,” he said. “We like the demographics, we like the town.”
And they have the capital necessary to finish some of the long-range plans that Limestone owners were unable to complete, such as creating rooms for private parties with a capacity of up to 200 people and building an outdoor patio area on the south side of the building, Cin said.
“We’re taking what Limestone did — and they did a lot of things well — and taking it to the next level,” he said.
They’re already conducting a national search for a new brewmaster, and have interviewed Limestone’s brewmaster Ken McMullen for the job, he said.
Their timetable for opening will be dictated by when the bankruptcy judge signs off on the sale and how long the improvements take to complete, Cin said.
As for the rest of the strip mall, the goal will be to “keep all of the tenants in place and attract new businesses,” he said.
In the last year, the shopping center has lost Limestone, two other restaurants, a large gym and other smaller businesses. In at least three cases, disputes over rent played a role in the businesses departing.
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