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Joliet council agrees to incentive deal with Innovation Pavilion

The Joliet City Council took steps last week to incentivize a redevelopment agreement with Innovation Pavilion and the development of its innovation campus planned for downtown Joliet.

In a 7-0 vote, Joliet officials agreed to a $200,000 pact, which could help the city in realizing the vision of its downtown plan of becoming a “Mecca for Young Adults.” Councilman Pat Mudron was absent from the meeting.

Discussion between the city and Innovation Pavilion CEO Vic Ahmed related to the project took place over the last year.

The development is to consist of eight elements, including a conference center, corporate suites, shared space-incubator, maker space, STEM school, 21st century library, retail and millennial housing.

The agreement stipulates that city-owned property will be conveyed to Innovation Pavilion at no cost either with regard to the 2.67-acre parcel along North Joliet Street or the 4.67-acre site adjacent to the new bus transportation center.

In order for Innovation Pavilion to put the city’s incentive package to use, the firm must apply for building permits. The agreement stipulates the firm has the opportunity to be reimbursed for up to $200,000, or 50-percent—whichever is less, to pay for start-up costs.

“Once the plan is done—once the architectural renderings are done, the building permit’s applied for—we get a real sense of what their project is, what’s the scope,” Deputy City Manager Steve Jones said. “Is it 100,000 square feet? Is it 200,000 square feet? What are the eight components they’ve put into it? At that point, the city will look at the typical incentives we offer within our downtown area and see which of those apply to this project.”

Innovation Pavilion already has one innovation campus located in Centennial, CO. It is the firm’s intent to expand throughout the country.

The firm will need to come back to the city council at a later date with regard to the second agreement, which gets into all the other specifics that could be aligned to the project.

“The beauty of this is there’s no risk to the city,” Jones said. “You have to apply for a building permit, which means they’ve spent an awful lot of money to get this project off the ground, and that’s the point where any reimbursement or land transfer would occur.”

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