The Library Block may not be the only place where large construction equipment can be found in downtown Platteville next year.
Across Chestnut Street, the owner of Steve’s Pizza Palace is proposing a $3 million addition that would serve as a separate restaurant and brewpub.
Owner John Patakos proposes to build on to the east side of his building in what now officially is Jones Street, which is a city street even though the city abandoned most of the street in 1975. The project also would involve the demolition of two buildings Patakos owns, at 45 S. Chestnut St. and 155 W. Main St.
Patakos said the addition would house a restaurant with “different atmosphere, different foods” from Steve’s. The format hasn’t been determined yet, he said.
“We’ve been trying to get this going for a long time,” he said, adding that the Library Block project’s moving forward “will help with the cash flow of our project.”
The city Plan Commission got its first look at the project Monday night, recommending Common Council approval of vacating part of Jones Street while maintaining a 24-foot-wide easement for access, along with continuing existing right-of-way encroachments on Chestnut Street, Main Street and Jones Street, on a 4–2 vote.
The Common Council is expected to vote on the street vacation in January. The project also must get the approval of the city Historic Preservation Commission, which meets Tuesday.
Even though Monday’s meeting was only about the street vacation, commission members heard an extra-large pan-size serving of information about the project, including opposition from its neighbors, including but not limited to parking.
Dan Dreessens of Delta 3 Engineering, which is doing the engineering work on the project, said the project would widen vehicle lanes in the area.
“It may not be a perfect situation, but we are improving access through there,” he said.
Patakos said he is renting spaces from Mound City Bank for shuttle or valet parking. He said Mound City has more than the 30 spaces required by the city for the project.
Eric Cleveland, who owns the State Farm Insurance building at 145 W. Main St., said the project would take away access from his building to Jones Street. With the demolition of the next-door building, Cleveland’s building would be the closest building on the 100 block of West Main Street to Steve’s.
Cleveland said he wasn’t made aware of the scope of the project until he was contacted by Delta 3 Friday afternoon.
“I feel this project is being fast-tracked in a way that benefits [Steve’s] over the neighboring occupants and businesses,” he said. “You’re going to move forward, take away my right of ingress and egress. … This is like trying to put a size-12 foot in a size-8 shoe.”
Cleveland warned that “this is going to be a long drawn-out fight,” adding, “This is affecting my livelihood.”
“This is not about needs; this is about wants,” said Jake Riniker, who owns the building at 125 W. Main St. “I feel he doesn’t need Jones Street for this project; he wants Jones Street for this project. We need Jones Street.”
Riniker said parking for Steve’s on Main Street and Chestnut Street takes away from parking for other businesses.
“Does this look like a chaotic mess? Because it looks like a chaotic mess to me,” he said. “It’s almost impossible to work around.”
Jayne Stark, who owns Jayne’s Family Hair Care at 30 S. Court St., said parking in the alley south of her building “is difficult even now to get out of there. I don’t know how difficult it will be after this.”
Stark said there are 10 businesses on Court Street, and not enough parking for them without more added in the area.
Jones Street originally extended from Main Street between Steve’s and Viewpoint Graphics south to the alley north of Hartig Drug. Most of Jones Street was abandoned by the city in 1975 when the owner of what now is the Steve’s Pizza building, Heiser Ace Hardware, planned to add onto the building. Heiser instead moved from the former Montgomery Ward building to 180 E. Main St.
Patakos purchased the building, then occupied by Discount Mattress, in 2008 and moved there from Steve’s original location, 15 E. Main St., in 2009.
The project would vacate the northern 32 feet of what remains of Jones Street for brewpub grain silos and utilities for the expansion. The expansion would extend 32 foot east into the alley east of Steve’s, with the 155 W. Main St. building removed for five parallel parking and the South Chestnut building removed for six parking stalls.
The project also would extend the raised sidewalk and guardrail in front of Steve’s to the east along West Main Street.
Plan Commission members Julie Loeffelholz and Gary Munson voted against the vacation, with Munson asking whether the project could go forward without the vacation.