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AURORA, IL-Geneva-based developer Sho-Deen Inc. has nearly doubled the scope of its proposed development, to be called East Bank in downtown Aurora. The proposed development now spans 34 acres and includes plans for between 900 and 2,000 new residences, a hotel and up to 225,000 sf of retail and commercial space. The total value of the development will possibly be more than $600 million, company president David Patzelt tells GlobeSt.com.

The proposed development site is bordered by the Fox River to the west, East Benton Street to the north, South Broadway to the east and North Avenue to the south. Last year, plans were presented for more than 1,000 residential units, a hotel and up to 125,000 sf of commercial and retail space on a 27-acre site. The previous value of the project was more than $200 million. Sho-Deen signed a contract six to eight months ago for the additional 7 acres, Patzelt says.

Sho-Deen was attracted to the site because of the “wonderful transportation opportunities” such as the Metra train, PACE and state highways that connect to I-88, that the site was along the Fox River, and the proximity to entertainment such as the Riverboat and the Paramount Theater. Additionally, Sho-Deen was attracted to the site because of Aurora’s desire to redevelop the downtown area. “We had observed and noticed that Aurora was interested in a big revitalization program of their downtown and were putting incentives out there, such as TIF’s, to induce redevelopment activities,” Patzelt says.

The development will have 18 buildings of up to 22 stories and up to 62 unites per acre. At least 80% of the residential units will be condominiums with the rest being rental units. Lease rates have not been decided for the retail and commercial space, he says. Retail will likely include a restaurant, dry cleaners and bank in addition to possibly a full-scale grocery store. Plans for the parcel also include a riverwalk, parks, public parking deck, a pedestrian bridge over the river and a hotel with up to 250 rooms.

The Baje-Steere Industrial Building, at 235 S. Broadway, has been demolished, interior demolition is underway of the train station on the site and environmental cleanup of the site is underway. Construction for the project is expected to begin sometime in 2008.

The city of Aurora has already approved a redevelopment agreement with Sho-Deen for the project, but final plans still have to be approved, Patzelt says. With the redevelopment agreement, the city would contribute up to $3.5 million for infrastructure improvements and up to $1.5 million for rehabilitation of the train station. The site is within the Rivercity Project Area tax increment financing (TIF) district and Sho-Deen could be reimbursed for up to $26.5 million in TIF funds.

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