Button to City to Zook

Robert Blackford

The Aledo City Council's TIF Committee agreed Thursday night to move a motion to the full council that would have the council acquire the Button Building from the development group and sell it directly to Zook Investments.

The council will meet Monday, April 15 to decide the fate of the building.

Aledo Mayor Bill Breeden said BlackHawk Bank approached the Aledo City Council about two months ago about acquiring the building since the owners of the Button Building were not inclined to refinance their loan and the city was involved in the initial agreement.

Breeden said the city and BlackHawk Bank negotiated the sale of the building to the city for $200,000 plus some additional money from the development group. The $200,000 is much less than the loan balance according to Aledo City Attorney Mark Walton. The city would then have soul title to the building.

The City of Aledo would then sell the building to Zook Investments for $238,448.

Breeden said Don Zook approached the city with an interest in the property.

"Word was out on the street so Zook called the city with a proposal," said Breeden.

Breeden added, "The Button Building group still owns the building so the sale is with them, the bank just wants the situation resolved."

The City of Aledo would then loan Zook Investments a total of $283,000 with $170,000 of that amount forgivable as long as Zook Investments keeps retail tenants in the building. The remaining part of the loan, $113,000 is a straight loan for the life of the TIF District, about nine and a half years.

The loan would be secured by a mortgage on the building where the city could foreclose if they needed to.

Breeden said, "The Button Building provides a stabilizing presence to the downtown area. Its guestbook features names from all over the Quad Cities. It helps provide the city with tax revenues and helps the downtown area.

The Button Building provides approximately $25,000 annually in total retail tax revenues, $4,000 of which goes to the city.

"We're not closing and look forward to continue building our business in downtown Aledo," said Beth Whitenack of the Vintage Button.