Aurora looks at $200,000 in incentives to help business move to new location in city – Chicago Tribune

When Gio Rodriguez started his business out of his garage in Aurora in 2017, he had big dreams.

The former Aurora High School wrestler, born and raised in Aurora, still does.

“We hope to become a globally recognized brand,” he said this week.

It may seem like bravery to some, but in just two years, Rodriguez took his business, Premill, out of a garage and into a retail store in downtown Aurora, and recognizable sports to support his brand. Took the help of stars and online influencers. Urban streetwear and footwear.

Now he’s avoiding offers to relocate to Chicago and Naperville to stay in his hometown, which at Stolp Avenue and Downer Place downtown, which David Dibo, Aurora’s economic development director, calls “a very prime location.”

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If the city council approves a redevelopment agreement next week, Premill will remodel two office suites in the first floor of the city’s Stolp Island parking garage into two attractive new retail spaces.

“The approach is to move the old offices into the new retail,” Dibo said.

The city will invest a total of $200,000 in remodeling the suites, with Rodriguez contributing a total of $150,000.

The city’s $200,000 is divided into $120,000 from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District and a $30,000 Finish Line grant that is closing at the end of the year. The other $50,000 is actually coming from Rodriguez, but the city will pay him back in free rent for three years, half rent for the fourth year, and regular rent in the fifth year.

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Rodriguez will contribute the remaining $100,000 to the remodeling of the offices.

He told aldermen at this week’s city council committee plenary meeting that he would replace the old offices with a “more modern, urban look.” One location will be retail, the other will combine retail with the company’s live-screen printing service. As a nod to his roots, Rodriguez would add two garage doors to that space as part of the accessibility.

The deal is going fast because the Premill building is now sold, and the new owner wants to move his business into that building. Dibo said that “timing is of the essence when it comes to bringing old customers into new stores.”

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He said the business is an example of a homegrown, locally grown business, and city council members appeared to agree.

Eld. Sheketa Hart-Burns, 7th Ward, said to know Rodriguez is to understand that she is “strong, dedicated.”

“Talk about a fine young man,” she said.

Eld. Sherman Jenkins at Large praised Rodriguez for his “willingness to be here”.

“He could have gone somewhere else,” Jenkins said. “You see the potential here.”

Voting on the agreement will take place next week at the regular City Council meeting on new business.

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