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Outlook not bright at vacant shopping center across from City Hall

Owner says he wants to sell property with no interested developers

The vacant strip mall on Delafield Street across from City Hall has been empty since the end of 2012. The owner of the site said he is trying to sell the property.

The vacant strip mall on Delafield Street across from City Hall has been empty since the end of 2012. The owner of the site said he is trying to sell the property. Photo By Todd Ponath

March 19, 2014

The area is zoned for business.

But the strip mall, known as the Delafield Shopping Center, across the street from City Hall on Delafield Street has had anything but business recently.

That wasn't always the case, however.

Over the years the multi-use facility has included an auto parts store, a furniture store, a restaurant and a dry cleaner. And for many years it was a grocery store.

In 2012, three tenants were left: a Quick Cleaner, a pharmacy and a Mexican restaurant. But by the end of 2012, all three were gone.

Community Development Director Steve Crandell said the pharmacy left when Aurora closed a number of pharmacies. And before that, Crandell said the restaurant went out of business.

The shopping center is on 1.88 acres of land or 82,155-square-feet.

Crandell said the city doesn't have any redevelopment district on this property and it doesn't own the site. He said the owner of the site would have to go through a broker to fill the property.

The owners of the site are Kipp Williams Kennedy and John D. Williams, according to the city assessor's department.

John D. Williams said he has owned the site for the last two years and wants to sell it.

"No. 1, I want to get rid of it," he said. "I'm not interested in owning that. It got dumped on us. We're stuck with it."

Crandell said near the end of 2012 a developer was interested in the site but wasn't able to reach a sale agreement with the owner.

"Since then we have had no one approach the department," Crandell said.

Crandell said that as a department the city would consider the use of tax incremental financing if it is a feasible project.

Crandell added that he believed there are mechanical issues that need to be addressed with the building as well but the owner said there aren't problems with it.

Since it has been vacant for more than a year-and-a-half, the assessed value of the building dropped from $1.3 million in 2012 to $844,500 in 2013.

Retail could go at the site or a developer could remove the current building, Crandell said.

"Everything takes time," John D. Williams said about finding a developer. "There are a lot of empty properties in the city that are newer and bigger than this."

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