On Tuesday, the City of Springfield’s Economic Development Commission reviewed a request for up to $1 million in TIF funds to help redevelop the property at 322 E. Adams into a food hall and rooftop bar, unanimously recommending the city council approve the request.  When the project was first announced in July, managing partner David Lee told SBJ he planned to launch an “innovative food and beverage concept” in the long-vacant building.

The Public Market will include a food hall with space for seven vendors offering varied menus and three bars that will feature craft beer and wines from Illinois. The surface parking lot in the back of the building will be converted to a beer garden and green space.

“On our second floor will be more upscale dining with a spacious observation deck over the beer garden, and we are most excited about one of the first rooftop bars in central Illinois, with views of both Capitol domes in downtown Springfield,” said Lee.

The venue will also host live entertainment and have event space available for rent.

As chair of Momentum on Main Street, an initiative of Downtown Springfield Inc., Lee has made it a habit to encourage young entrepreneurs to invest in properties and businesses downtown. Now he says he plans to use the knowledge he’s gained and connections he’s made.

“I wanted to have a hand in the revitalization efforts,” said Lee. “Through DSI and Momentum (on Main Street) I’ve met a lot of other people who are involved in this project as well.”

The estimated cost of renovations is $4 million, and the completed project will generate around $88,250 in property tax revenue, according to the TIF proposal provided to the City of Springfield.

Lee said he hopes that having a building that allows for shared space and lower overhead will help make a physical location more feasible for business owners who might currently be operating out of a home kitchen or food truck.

“One thing that’s intimidating, especially if you want to be downtown, is that you have to drive your own traffic and do everything yourself, in addition to being the one making the food,” said Lee. “This is going to be something that Springfield hasn’t seen.”

The Public Market is slated to open in summer 2021.