Aurora approves financial aid to help two downtown businesses – Chicago Tribune
The Aurora City Council this week approved financial relief packages to help two downtown businesses stay open.
Aldermen voted for packages for Altiro, a Latin Fusion restaurant on Galena Boulevard and Stolp Avenue, and QT3 Systems, a workout facility that includes a new juice bar, at Stolp and Downer Place.
The city’s aid comes mostly from pandemic-related funding, which city officials say is appropriate because the businesses’ problems were mostly pandemic-related.
The aldermen unanimously voted the package for Altiro. But there was a negative vote on Ald’s QT3 Systems package. Edward Bugg, 9th Ward.
Bugg had asked QT3 owner Quintin Thompson if he would be impacted “over the next three months” if his company waited for the aid package.
The timing would mean it could be part of a larger overall relief package the city is putting in place for businesses across the city.
Thompson said he would be impacted, but said if the package was delayed he would “still be moving forward every day, to see what we can do.”
Altiro opened on the first floor of Leland Tower Apartments just before the pandemic. Latin Fusion restaurant, owned by Robert Avila, which has other locations including Geneva and Wheaton, entered the restaurant space with some prompting, some from the city, but more from the building owner, David Karademas.
Karademas again offered to forgive Altiro’s rent. But the city is also reportedly contributing a total of about $110,000 to help the business, some in the form of restaurant space upgrades.
The breakdown would be: $10,000 for an awning; $30,000 for heating and air conditioning work; $11,000 for outdoor seating; and $59,000 overall for bar and restaurant space.
The city would use $60,000 from district number one tax increase funding for some of the improvements and $41,000 from American Recovery Program Act funds. The remaining $9,000 would come from the CERF program, which the city itself created to benefit businesses during the pandemic.
For the QT3 Body Systems deal, the city will inject a total of $87,000 for the physical training activity and a juice bar called Kathryn’s Place right behind it.
Thompson launched the juice bar, named after her mother, just before the pandemic hit. It was to be a complement to its training center, which has existed for nine years.
Officials said $35,000 of the money pledged by the city would go toward building Kathryn’s Place, and another $11,000 would go towards operating costs.
About $15,000 would go towards running the training center, including the purchase of equipment, and $25,800 would go toward overdue rent and four months’ term rent, through July 31, officials said. the city.
Thompson said he plans to hire more coaches and hold more classes throughout the week.
In addition to the remaining CERF fund money, the city has more funds from the American Recovery Program Act that it can use to help. Aurora has received about $35 million from the law, but so far it has only received half of that, or about $17.5 million. This money has been integrated into the 2022 budget.
Officials said the city is expected to receive an additional $17.8 million which it will incorporate into the 2023 budget.
Alex Alexandrou, the city’s chief executive, told aldermen this week that the mayor’s economic development office and finance department were working on a comprehensive program to reach out to businesses in dire need of help.
Alexandrou said the program will be part of the 2022 budget amendment and will include funds for the aggressive retention of current businesses, as well as the recruitment of new businesses. It will also include the Finish Line grant program — which until recently was administered by Invest Aurora, but is now controlled by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development — and the former Facade program.
He said he expects the program to be rolled out by the end of the summer.
David Dibo, director of the city’s economic development office, said he would speak to aldermen in the coming weeks about businesses that may need immediate help, before the program begins.
“It’s about the reality of keeping worthy businesses open,” he said.
Aldus. 5th Quarter Carl Franco asked Alexandrou and Dibo if awarding the QT3 package now would impact the eventual overall schedule, and they said no.
“There’s really no reason to wait,” Alexandrou said. “It’s going to have an impact on a strategic corner of the city centre.”