Turk Furniture building

The former Turk Furniture building in downtown Danville will house a new Firewater BBQ & Brew restaurant, possibly two or more other restaurants or maybe even residential space on the second floor. The Danville City Council will act on a redevelopment agreement for the building next week.

DANVILLE — Firewater BBQ & Brew is one of the restaurants expected to open next year in the former Turk Furniture building in downtown Danville.

The Danville City Council is expected to act on an agreement next week for redevelopment of the former furniture building to house multiple restaurants and possible residential space.

The developers say they are leaning toward an Italian dine-in restaurant for a second restaurant in the building.

Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said he’s glad to see more restaurant options open downtown.

Williams expects construction to start by November on Firewater, with approval of the agreement next week by the city council.

Hopefully Firewater would be open by spring or summer 2023, he said.

Williams said it’s the perfect location to capture a lot of lunch business and for people coming downtown such as to the Fischer Theatre. It will give people another reason to visit downtown Danville, he added.

Danville Community Development Administrator Logan Cronk said the city has been working on an agreement for this site for about two years.

The investment is estimated at $1.8 million on the developer’s end for the redevelopment project, according to Cronk, saying the city’s incentives would total $600,000.

The city’s funding: $400,000 from general funds and $200,000 from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District. Cronk said that’s all the TIF fund has to offer for this.

He said projected paybacks to the TIF fund would see equalized assessed valuation increases within two to three years, and from sales tax with just one business locating there, within six to seven years.

Cronk said at least four businesses could locate in the building, with at least two to three restaurants on the first floor, and the second floor is still up for ideas.

“It could be more business or go residential,” Cronk said about the second floor.

The building is located at 200 N. Vermilion St., downtown across from the Vermilion County Administration Building on Vermilion Street.

Turk Furniture closed in 2019 after almost 40 years in business.

Developers are partners Dan Shafron and Mel Yarmat, with Stadium Club Joliet, LLC. They own the building.

The city has had other projects with Yarmat doing business as Cambium Growth Fund III LLC of Crest Hill, Ill. Yarmat’s other projects have included the Head Start move and offices in the former First Midwest Bank building on East Voorhees Street and the former First Midwest Bank building in downtown Danville that now houses Survivor Resource Center.

Cronk said Wednesday the city is starting to receive drawings of the buildout for the former Turk Furniture building.

According to Shafron and Yarmat, they’ve discussed with city officials for some time now bringing several restaurants here.

The agreement with Firewater is in place, and they were meeting with an architect later Wednesday for a floor plan design.

Firewater has four locations in the Chicagoland area.

Firewater will occupy about 5,500 to 6,000 square feet, about a third of the Danville building’s space. They said the trick right now is to design the building in such a way with restaurant access from the street and more parking behind the building.

It will be a take-out and dine-in restaurant.

Firewater is known for its high-quality BBQ and smoked meats. According to its website, it has the flavors, traditions and hospitality of southern style BBQ, perfected in the Windy City.

Firewater owner Matt Weil is particular about the interior design of the restaurant to make it appealing to the community he’s serving, according to Shafron.

While a second restaurant in the building could be an Italian one, they are keeping the third possibility a secret.

They are hoping to have at least one restaurant open next year. They said interior work on the building shouldn’t be an issue this winter for the indoor renovations.

Whatever they do with the second floor of the building, they want to make sure there’s good access too.

“It’s a great second floor. There should be some wonderful adaptive reuse,” according to Shafron.

Yarmat has been familiar with the Danville area for development for more than 30 years, going back to business connections with the Mervis family.

The developers say they had a nice sit down with city officials and a meeting with Firewater BBQ about two years ago for this project. They say Williams and Cronk were “extremely easy to work with.”

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