The new owners of the former Helping Hand Thrift Shop at 3726 Grand Blvd. in Brookfield say the building could be turned into a brew pub/restaurant, a breakfast restaurant or offices, but there are no firm plans on the drawing board at this time.
A corporation known as Grand Boulevard Partners LLC purchased the former second-hand shop on Nov. 19 for $105,000. The Illinois Secretary of State’s website lists the managers of that corporation as John Scaletta, a Brookfield resident, and Michael Maksimovich, a Lyons attorney.
Scaletta owns a video production company called Motion Source, which has offices in downtown LaGrange and on Fairview Avenue in Brookfield just around the corner from the Grand Boulevard building.
In September, Brookfield Village Manager Keith Sbiral said that the village had been approached about putting a restaurant inside the former Helping Hand location, which has been vacant since a fire in April 2013, which gutted the structure. The lower level of the building also suffered flood damage at the same time.
Scaletta, at that time not identified officially as a partner in the venture, wouldn’t comment on any specific plans for the building.
Last week, Scaletta said he and his business partners are sorting through a variety of options — from a restaurant to business offices. Scaletta indicated that one of his partners has many years of experience in the restaurant business.
“We have basic questions on what can be done there,” said Scaletta. “Like everything, it takes money.”
The group has not approached the village with a concrete proposal yet, Scaletta said, though he described village officials as helpful.
“The village has been really good to us,” said Scaletta. “They’ve been super supportive.”
Asked what drew the partners to the building in the first place, Scaletta said that he lives in Brookfield, believes in Brookfield and sees the village as an up-and-coming community.
“There’s a good foundation there,” said Scaletta. “It’s a brick building and I think it’s in a good location. You can’t get something like that anymore in downtown LaGrange. You have to remember, at one time LaGrange’s downtown was a ghost town and people took chances.”
At this point, the corporation’s ideas are simply concepts, Scaletta said.
“We’re really doing our homework; we want to make sure the numbers work,” he said. “We want to see something happen, and I think it’ll be an asset to the town.”
The corporation is doing some work inside the building right now, Scaletta said, and may soon take down the awning out front and replace the boarded up windows. Before putting in new windows, however, they’d like to have an idea of what purpose the building is going to serve.
If it’s a restaurant-type building, they may want to install windows that open to the street. If it’s offices, they’d simply put in regular windows.
“That’s what’s holding us back right now,” Scaletta said.