City Council Objects to Self-Storage Added to Business-Incubator Development Project in Fulton, IL

City officials in Fulton, Ill., have objections to self-storage units that are being added to a business-incubator project being built by local developer Jeffery Zajicek. Some council members believe the project is straying too far from the plan officials approved in November 2013, which called for a 10,000-square-foot building with two office spaces and four units at the rear of the building that could be used for storage. The council discussed the matter with Zajicek and his attorney, Magen Mertes, during a meeting last week.

City officials in Fulton, Ill., have objections to self-storage units that are being added to a business-incubator project being built by local developer Jeffery Zajicek. Some council members believe the project is straying too far from the plan officials approved in November 2013, which called for a 10,000-square-foot building with two office spaces and four units at the rear of the building that could be used for storage. The council discussed the matter with Zajicek and his attorney, Magen Mertes, during a meeting last week.

Councilmember Barb Mask called the project “a big deviation of what we signed,” but Mertes argued construction has not deviated significantly from the original plans. Prior to approving the development, several council members stressed the need to minimize the self-storage aspects of the facility, according to the source.

“If you look at that facility out there, it looks to me like there’s a heck of a lot of personal storage designed in this project,” said councilmember Gene Field. “Why would this be put up this way? This was one of the stipulations that we didn’t want personal storage, but you look at that facility down there, and I can see some office space possibly in the front, but in the back, boy, there’s a lot of personal storage there.”

Mertes presented modifications to the original agreement last November, which the council discussed during the meeting. Changes included reducing the size of the incubator office spaces to 8,000 square feet as well as the removal of a clause that restricts Zajicek’s ability to use the four rear units as temporary self-storage, according to the source.

Mertes argued “self-storage” was only vaguely described in the original agreement and should be redacted to enable the facility to generate self-storage revenue while seeking tenants for the office space, the source reported.

“Since this is built on spec, [Zajicek] needs to be able to pay the loan,” Mertes said. “That was always the discussion; there has to be some ability to generate money while we’re hoping that some business will come in here and be successful in an incubator. If that incubator is only there for six months and isn’t successful, how is he going to be able to pay for this building?”

Another change the council appeared to support was a plan to remove the roll-up doors on the four rear units and replace them with front entrances and windows similar to the façade on the incubator office spaces.

The council didn’t make any decisions regarding the project and will discuss it again during a future meeting. If the two sides can’t reach an agreement, the project could result in a lawsuit, according to the source.

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