AURORA, IL-The Aurora City Council has approved TIFs with a potential value of $110 million for the massive RiverCity convention and sports development project, putting together the needed financial building blocks that developers require to push the $450-million development forward.

“The developers will award a construction contract for the first phase of the development, which will be worth between $70 million and $100 million, sometime in the winter,” says Barbara Kattermann, RiverCity pointperson for the city and former economic development officer for Aurora. “Because of environmental assessments, we are pushing back ground-breaking plans to next summer sometime.”

It has taken Kattermann and Aurora Mayor David Stover nearly two years to get to this point. When they first broached plans for the development, it was for just eight acres, according to Kattermann. Now the project has mushroomed to 200 acres and city officials must now begin negotiations to acquire 344 parcels of land in a mostly downtrodden industrial area within the city.

The plans call for a 6,000-seat sports arena to be developed by noted area sports venue owner and developer Charles Bidwill, a huge convention hall, a 250-room hotel and over 1,000 residential units along with retail.

Originally, Joseph Beale, chairman of Hawthorne Realty Group, was to serve as master developer of the project, supported by Newcastle Limited. The sports arena was to be developed by Bidwell’s Aurora Sports Venture. This arrangement has been changed, according to Kettermann, with the developers forming a full partnership through a new vehicle called Aurora Riverside Venture LLC.

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