PERU - A new restaurant and microbrewery is coming to downtown Peru after the city council approved $200,000 to renovate a dilapidated building that will house the eatery.
Jason McClure, who helps operate McClure's Orchard in Miami County with his family, told council members Monday the state has approved a plan submitted to renovate the building at 20 E. Fifth St.
That plan includes turning the second floor of the two-story building into four apartment units, and renovating the first floor into a restaurant, pizzeria and microbrewery.
But the building, which sits directly across from the Miami County Courthouse, has sat vacant for years and has fallen into disrepair.
Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority, told council members that's why it was selected to be included in a new city-sponsored program that targets deteriorating downtown buildings for redevelopment.
"These buildings take more than just a paint job and some sprucing up," he said. "These have some structural damage and need some serious rehabilitation to make them usable."
Officials recently solicited ideas for concepts from anyone interested in partnering with the city to renovate and utilize the building.
That's when McClure and Chadd Pattison, a local developer who owns a business near Denver, joined together to submit their proposal.
Tidd said after examining the structure, engineers determined the project would cost around $300,000.
The city council voted unanimously to appropriate $150,000 to split the rehabilitation costs with the developers. The council also approved $50,000 that will be put into a contingency fund in case extra costs are incurred during the project.
Tidd said the developers will now move forward with securing their portion of the funding for the project.
He said only a public-private partnership like the one approved by council could support a new development of this scope moving to the downtown.
"We truly believe it's going to take something like this for some of these buildings to survive," he said. "Otherwise, they are going to be candidates for demolition down the road."
Peru Mayor Gabe Greer said the money is well spent, considering both McClure and Pattison are established entrepreneurs with stellar business records who will ensure the new downtown enterprise will succeed.
He said some of McClure's hard ciders are now even being distributed at Kroger stores around the state, and Pattison has renovated other downtown buildings in Peru and Wabash.
"These two people are not without qualifications," Greer said. "They have the background and history to be able to do this. ... They're ready to go. They're ready to start their business."
A timeline of the project, or when the restaurant will open, was not discussed.