When Giuseppe Zappani purchased and restored the Arcade Building in downtown Riverside in 2010, he rescued an endangered piece of the village’s history. Now he’s turned his attention to another troubled commercial property in the village.
Last November, Zappani bought the vintage mixed-use building at 363-69 E. Burlington St., a long-neglected 1920s-era structure comprising four commercial storefronts and four second-story apartments.
The building had been in foreclosure since 2010, when now-failed Amcore Bank filed suit after the owner defaulted on a mortgage issued two years earlier. In February 2014, the village of Riverside placed a lien on the property for unpaid water charges.
And in November 2014, Phoenix Bond and Indemnity Company, which purchased the property’s unpaid real estate taxes for “2010 and prior years,” filed notice it was seeking title to the property.
Zappani was able to buy the property on Nov. 11, 2014 for $238,000.
According to Sonya Abt, the village of Riverside’s community development director, Zappani hasn’t come forward with any specific plans for the building yet. However, the building is not habitable, she said.
“There’s a whole host of issues,” said Abt.
A couple of years ago, the pipes froze and burst, flooding a portion of the building. There are also issues with the roof, said Abt, and structural problems with the front wall of the building.
“It was approved for sale, but not for occupancy,” Abt said.
While there was some speculation in the village that the building might be a candidate for a teardown, Zappani indicated in a recent phone interview that he was looking to rehabilitate the building.
“I’ve got to redo the apartments,” Zappani said. “On the first floor I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but we’ll have to completely gut it out and redo it.”
Zappani said he has no firm plans sketched out, but he’ll move forward, probably this spring.
“As soon as the weather breaks, we’ll see what we can do,” he said.
The easternmost storefront of the building was the home of Colorsmith Stained Glass for 35 years. Colorsmith moved out of the building and into a space at the Arcade Building in October 2014, though it had been planning the move since at least February of that year.
And prior to moving out, Colorsmith was the only tenant of the building for at least a decade. The building housed a variety of businesses through the years, from an ice cream parlor to a tailor shop, military collectables shop, a printer, a photography studio and a second-hand store run by the Seguin organization.
From its sale last November, the owner was listed in county property records as John P. Gorman, who bought the property in 1982 for $180,000 and placed it in a land trust. The trust took out a $735,000 mortgage in 2008, and Amcore Bank began foreclosure proceedings in January 2010.