Staff Recommends $25K Grant, $75K Loan to Bring Top-End Italian Restaurant to Batavia

The Batavia City Council is expected to vote on the TIF District incentive Tuesday night.

Gaetano's in Forest Park. | Credit: Forest Park Patch
Gaetano's in Forest Park. | Credit: Forest Park Patch
Batavia's economic development consultant has recommended a $25,000 grant and $75,000 loan to bring a highly-regarding Italian fusion restaurant to 15 East Wilson St.

Economic Development Consultant Chris Aiston says the proposed Gaetano’s, which would be owned and operated by Batavia residents Gaetano and Wendy DiBenedetto, is worth the investment.

Staff recommended the ordinance for a tax increment financing district agreement after considering the DiBenedettos' finances, the success of the existing Gaetano’s in Forest Park and "the potential positive impact the proposed restaurant will have on the immediate area and on downtown Batavia’s business community generally."

The City Council Committee of the Whole agenda calls for discussion at its 6:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting and a vote at the full City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m.

Under the agreement, the city would provide the developer a TIF grant in the amount of $25,000 and a loan in the amount of $75,000. The loan would carry an annual interest rate of 2.75 percent and term of five years.

The costs of starting a new restaurant in an older building are significant.

"In creating a full service kitchen, the developer must purchase and install certain equipment required in the preparation of the planned menu items. It is estimated that the total cost for all planned improvements, including equipment purchase and installation, will exceed $220,000," Aiston said in his report.

Improvements include:
  • Upgrades and modifications to building plumbing, natural gas and electrical facilities;
  • Interior decorating;
  • Kitchen equipment purchase and installation (including refrigerators, freezers, ovens, and ranges);
  • Multiple, independent oven venting systems; and
  • Ansul fire suppression system purchase and installation. 

An article in the Daily Herald says Gaetano’s would be the fifth Italian restaurant in downtown Batavia.

Gaetano’s is a Italian fusion tapas restaurant founded by Executive Chef Gaetano Di Benedetto, who hails from "the lush coastal town of Bagheria, located just outside of Palermo, Sicily," according to the Gaetano's website.

The Forest Park Gaetano's was rated the second-best Italian restaurant in the Chicago area by Zagat in October 2013.

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FoxValley January 22, 2014 at 10:46 AM
Please. This is stupid. Batavia has recently reduced the number of parking spaces. There are already two (2) Italian restaurants in the City and many others within a brief drive of downtown. Now the taxpayers will present another private sector entrepreneur with incentives they don't need. If the owners feel Batavia is the right location, let them fund their business with a bank. Taxpayers are NOT a bank.
marybaffes January 22, 2014 at 03:06 PM
You know what we need? MORE Italian food. And while we are at it, let's get ANOTHER yoga studio and maybe one or two MORE Thai food restaurants... In case you can't tell, that's sarcasm. I have nothing against these restaurateurs. But why, WHY is it so hard to get more diversity in Batavia?
Jon Azavedo January 23, 2014 at 08:37 PM
While I may not agree w/ the TIF money requested, why not? New tenant, property in a sorry state, business will contibute taxes. Compare that w/ Gerry Dempsey's request, and approval, for TIF money for properties HE OWNS, and that HE PUT IN DISREPAIR!! First the artist studio's now Walgreens. That strip center should be demolished, not awarded w/ taxpayer money!!!!


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