LOWELL | The developer of an upscale banquet hall has broken new ground by being the first to be granted a real estate tax abatement package for a commercial, rather than industrial, enterprise.
Koui Enterprises LLC will literally break ground for the project on Commercial Avenue later this year.
The Lowell Town Council unanimously approved a maximum 10-year graduated abatement for Koui Enterprises, which was represented by George Kouimanis, owner of George's Family Restaurant, and his family.
After learning the council had the option of three-, six- or 10-year abatements, Councilman Edgar Corns, R-5th, said, "That's a million-dollar investment. I say 10 years."
Council President Phillip Kuiper, D-4th, said, "Personally, I'd love to partner up with them for another successful business. They have a great track record."
He noted all the town's previous abatements have been for industries and their equipment.
The proposed 9,000-square-foot facility is expected to provide 48 initial construction jobs, then 22 operational jobs once opened. It will be adjacent to George's, which is at 1910 E. Commercial Ave.
John Kouimanis will be one of the owners of the hall, which is to be called Signature Banquets, he said.
"We know there's a need," John Kouimanis said. "Everyone getting married now has to go north ... . It's a good time for it."
He said a market study supported that finding.
The 2 acres on which the one-story facility will be built has been owned by the family for seven or eight years. The hall will have a 300-person capacity and be able to accommodate two events at once. An in-house kitchen and outdoor patio area will be included.
George's Family Restaurant, which has been in Lowell for 28 years, is popular among residents of south Lake County, Newton and Jasper counties and nearby Illinois communities.