DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — New local owners say they have big plans for Bresee Tower.
The 100-year old building has been a headache for city leaders for years because it’s falling apart. The city actually sued the former owner because the building posted a public safety risk.
The new owners’ plans are being received with cautious optimism. They sat down with city and county officials to discuss their plans. They couldn’t get specific, but say it’s all about development.
For Mayor Scott Eisenhauer, his number one concern with Bresee Tower has always been safety. It’s one reason he’s on board with the new buyers, Chris and Jeri Collins.
“They certainly understand that our most immediate need is protection of the public from the falling terra cotta. They’ve already had a firm here in the community looking and giving them options for how they can address the exterior. They plan to do that in the next 60 days.”
He says Mr. Collins used to live in Danville and recently returned, bringing a fresh perspective to the historic building.
“But, more importantly, they really looked more holistically at the area of the downtown as a whole.” One example is the county annex. Chairman Mike Marron says the couple wants to buy it.
“We’re just waiting to see the specifics of the plan and the financial backing from some sort of financial institution to guarantee he can get it done. Then, we’re ready to move forward.”
The annex is connected to Bresee Tower. County officials moved because the tower was falling on top fo them.
Marron says he can’t reveal the couple’s plans for the building, but he can say this: “They’re pretty excited if he can get them one. I think it would really be a boost to downtown.”
Eisenhauer thinks so too and, even though the tower has a new owner, he says the old owner, who the city is suing, still isn’t off the hook.
“There are still some things within th lawsuit we are seeking from the corporation so we have not dismissed the lawsuit at this point.”
The Collins family is not involved in the lawsuit.