Broker Tour showcases downtown Aurora as “open for business”
By Jim Schweizer
Invest Aurora partnered with MORe (Mainstreet Organization of Realtors) to host a Downtown Aurora Broker Tour on October 30. After a brief reception at Two Brothers Roundhouse, which included opening remarks by Dave Hulseberg, president/CEO of Invest Aurora; Chuck Nelson, Deputy Mayor; and Richard C. Irvin, Mayor of Aurora, about 60 out-of-town brokers, real estate investors and developers boarded trolleys for a tour of downtown Aurora.
Hulseberg started the afternoon with a brief history of Invest Aurora including an overview of the organization’s offerings and current Aurora events. Nelson and Mayor Irvin spoke about some of Aurora’s recent success stories – RiverEdge Park and St. Charles Senior Living Center renovations. They also provided attendees with a glimpse of what’s to come including the Aurora Arts Center, Aurora Transportation Center enhancements including the pedestrian bridge, and the banquet facility in the former International Harvester building.
‘Aurora is open for business’ was the message of the day. The tour included a number of properties and buildings that are for sale, for lease, or have projects under way. A virtual tour is available at https://goo.gl/nQKK4Q.
Along with the tour, interesting facts about downtown Aurora were provided. The Aurora Transportation Center is the ninth most used Metra station in Chicagoland. There is talk of the Terminal Building being revived with apartments on the upper floors and a restaurant on the ground floor. Seven acres of land is available for “high rise” residential development on the west bank of the Fox River, north of the Hollywood Casino parking lot.
Once on the trolleys, the real estate professionals learned details of successful recent development activity downtown. The updated and rebranded Holiday Inn Express worked with the city and Invest Aurora to enhance their customer experience with noise reduction barriers. They drove by the St. Charles and saw firsthand how a building abandoned for years could be reborn as an art deco treasure.
There were a couple of opportunities to stop and walk. A cold wind blowing down LaSalle Street didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm while touring the Gravity Building and learning about the many projects going on along the Historic Auto Row. Snacks and drinks were provided in Gallery 1904, the comfortable art gallery space below the recently renovated old library building at 1 E. Benton St.
All along the tour, Aurora’s remaining historically significant buildings were highlighted; Aurora Regional Fire Museum, Leland Tower, Graham and Mayan buildings all showcase Aurora’s commitment to preservation. The Hobbs, Terminal, and Silverplate Buildings were showcased as developments waiting to happen.
Participants were energized by the opportunities and successes of Aurora’s real estate development endeavors. In just a couple of hours, the point was driven home that Aurora has already become the “City of Light Speed.”
Invest Aurora is a public/private economic development partnership with the City of Aurora dedicated to expanding economic opportunities in Aurora, Ill. And developing a sustainable community for Aurora residents.