NORMAL - The Coffeehouse & Deli in uptown Normal is being sold to One Main Development, but owner Simon Wilson said the status of the popular local hangout will not change for at least two years.
"We're secure for two years at least; then we have the option to relocate in the One Main building, get out of the business altogether or relocate altogether," Wilson said.
The same holds true for Prime Time Pizza, which shares the building owned by Simon on Beaufort Street.
Mike Royse, president of One Main Development of Champaign, said the property will be included in the company's plan for its Uptown Three building.
Design plans for that high performance and environmentally sustainable building are still in the works, he said. The company currently is building Uptown One on land along West Beaufort Street between the planned roundabout and Broadway.
Another building, Uptown Two, is planned to face the roundabout, the west side of the future Constitution Boulevard and College Avenue. Uptown Three would flank the east side of the boulevard and face the roundabout and East Beaufort. Construction of each building is expected to take about 18 months. Work on Uptown Two is expected to start in about a year and work on Uptown Three in two years.
"Simon has been wonderful to work with," Royse said. "We started talking to him when we first broke ground for Uptown One. We asked him to call when he was interested."
Simon, who also owns several Twin City coin-operated laundry centers and rental properties and works at the Clinton Power Plant, said the timing was right.
"I've given 12, almost 13 years," to The Coffeehouse & Deli, Simon said. "It's a very intense business. I want to do more with my family."
The agreement with One Main Development allows Simon to have use of the building for two years. According to the deal, the town would purchase the adjoining rear parking lot but will allocate spaces for The Coffeehouse & Deli. The City Council will consider the agreement at its Aug. 4 council meeting, City Manager Mark Peterson said.
Simon said his goal is to maintain the current standards and entertainment options at the all-vegetarian restaurant.
"We took a hit with all the (uptown) construction," Simon said. In addition, minimum wage increased, and the cost of produce went up.
Simon took over the former Coffee World Coffee House in 1996. Not only was it once the only place in town with fresh-roasted coffee beans but probably the first to offer a full line of espresso drinks. It also was one of the first to offer organic and healthy food options in the Twin Cities.
At one time, the accompanying deli included an extensive selection of bulk foods including whole grains, whole flours, honey and dried beans. In recent years, the produce used at the restaurant came from Simon's organic farm. He has since closed the farm.