SYCAMORE – Transaction delays from last summer’s auction of the former Browns’ County Market building are keeping the deal from closing and keeping the State Street business address vacant.
In July 2014, National Bank & Trust auctioned off the 35,120-square-foot retail space at 403 E. State St., with an opening bid of $500,000.
Details of the auction were not set to be made public for 45 days, as that is the time period the buyer would have to close.
The auction happened six months ago.
“There have been various delays with the overall transaction,” said David McCoy, senior vice president and chief financial office at NB&T.
He declined to give specifics about the delays, or the buyer.
“Until it gets to the point of closing, I can’t disclose who the buyer is,” McCoy said.
No deadline has been set to close the transaction, McCoy said.
“I would prefer it closed last year,” McCoy said. “At this point and time, we’re just waiting.”
City Manager Brian Gregory said the delays are not related to the city.
“Obviously it’s not our preference to have a vacant building,” he said.
Browns’ County Market closed in 2013 after the owner transferred the property to NB&T and proceeded with Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The retail space is part of a shopping center that also contains a Family Dollar store and a Resource Bank branch.
The Wendy’s restaurant that was destroyed in a fire last week is on one of the shopping area’s outlots.
Mayor Ken Mundy said he thought the old market space was sold months ago.
“Then after that, to my knowledge, no one’s approached the city with plans for the building,” Mundy said.
Rose Treml, executive director of the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, said she was confident the building wouldn’t be vacant for much longer.
“It takes time because it’s a business transaction,” she said. “I would rather us be patient and see something go in the the building that we’re happy with, than rush in and not have something with sustainability.”
Treml said she would like to see another grocery store in the spot since the area is in a convenient location, but any retail store would be a boost to the local economy.
“If it is retail, it would definitely help with jobs,” she said.
The space has interesting potential uses, Gregory said. All of the potential buyers he’s talked in the past year have involved keeping the space as some sort of retail business, he said.
“Some of the potential uses, I believe, the community would welcome,” Gregory said. “But at this point, they’re just discussions.”