One Normal Plaza and Nick Africano

By:  Diane Benjamin

From time to time a reader has left a comment about the deal Nick Africano had with the Town of Normal pertaining to the old Soldiers and Sailors property.  I decided to investigate.

Here’s what I know:

At the September 18, 2017 meeting this check for $483,900 was issued after the old Administration building was demolished.  Another $19,249 was taken out of the TIF. Since this property and Terri Ryburn’s Pine Street gas station are the only properties in the TIF I’m guessing demolition refers to this.  More on the TIF below.

PDF page 10:

africano check

This is the documentation from the original deal:    September 15, 2016

Africano owned 2 buildings on the property, both in poor condition.  Africano has either redeveloped or sold 9 other buildings on the property.  He didn’t have the money to demolish or rehab either building.

Town of Normal to the rescue:

1st agree

Basically, Normal agreed to reimbursed him for demolition of the Administration building so he could restore the Infirmary Building.

The agreement was for $500,000.   It cost Africano slightly more than that to tear it down.

Work had to begin within 6 months, it didn’t so the deadline was extended:   May 1, 2017

The Administration Building was finally demolished, hence the above check.  So, for around a half a million bucks the Normal taxpayers got a building torn down and a little bit of land now designated as a park.  Africano still owns the rest of the land.  See the final plat:  October 16, 2017

This is what the park looks like:ss pic

The Infirmary Building is still decaying, this is what it looks like up close:


Because of the way Normal wrote the contract with Africano, the Town has no recourse but to sue him.  Negotiating hasn’t worked.

Another problem is the sidewalk.  It is the perfect location to collect leaves:


This is last year’s TIF report.  It shows a deficit of ($3,714,530).  One Normal Place

See PDF page 10.  It still shows Ryburn’s investment in the property instead of revised numbers after the Town of Normal bought her out.  The return on investment from this TIF has been dismal.  According to the County records, Normal paid $257,516 for the property and $4,047.58 in property taxes last year.  Only $199.20 went to the TIF.

Even though the check above was written in 2017, it isn’t reported as money spent on PDF page 10.

Much more information is included in the links above.  Read them for some really good spin.

Add this to the list of incompetence by the “professional staff”.

10 thoughts on “One Normal Plaza and Nick Africano

  1. Thank you so much for investigating this. Although I still think this whole thing stinks, I don’t see why the town didn’t just pay the demolition company directly. Anyway, pigs will fly before the town will file a lawsuit against him. Huge leftist. If only everyone living in Normal could get taken care of this way. I guess it really does pay to have friends in high places. Meanwhile, Stan Nord is subjected to harrassment. Unreal. (You’re the best Diane)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As one who finds himself at odds with a lot of issues on the Normal Town Council, I find none more series than this. Add to it yesterday’s story that I read last night about the properties on School Street that were sold at a loss of nearly a quarter million dollars.

    I will try to summarize my concerns as briefly and concisely as I can:

    -First, this type of action is gross negligence of Council members in exercising their fiduciary responsibilities to the people of Normal.

    -Only government can pull off such a scheme. These types of deals simply do not and cannot exist in the private sector. And that should scare us. These decisions go far beyond the scope of anything government was ever intended to be or do.

    -The town of Normal is rewarding and incentivizing negligent property owners by giving them deals they can’t refuse by paying above market values for their properties. The message is clear. If you’d like to unload a property, let it go to pot, have the town of Normal declare it negligent and get paid above market prices for it. Meanwhile those like myself who try to maintain our properties are rewarded with a yearly property tax increase from the Normal Town Council.

    -Property owners have every reason to be concerned of the strong arm of Normal town government and its disregard for personal property rights and excessive control in the wake of the infamous Keto vs. New London supreme court decision. In 2016 I voiced my concerns to the mayor and all Council members. The responses I got were quite frightening.

    -These actions are based on a very subjective definition of a public nuisance. Who decides what this is and worse, how is that applied to properties in our town? The negligence is due in large part to an inability of the town of Normal to enforce their own code on these matters.

    -Both this deal and the ones described yesterday on School Street were sold with agreements in which the buyer has not complied. In the case of 614 North School, the buyer was supposed to comply with historical preservation guidelines because it’s one of the oldest homes in Normal. In the case of the property in this article, the owner was supposed to renovate the other building. The pictures in this article say it all. A half million dollars later it hasn’t happened. Likewise, nothing has been done to change the appearance of 614 N. School.

    I’m just getting started and for lack of time and space I’ll stop. Normal residents are not stupid. They’re free to add to this list.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And in another part of town…WGLT and Normal Planning Commission do another hit piece on Stan Nord concerning his “trustworthiness” in developing his property. All of this is from FOC’s or “Friends of Chris.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Towns pay the owners to demolish structures instead of paying the demolition company directly to avoid paying union wages.


  5. WGLT is out of control. The ISU Board of Trustees needs a visit…from a lot of people to discuss WGLTs ridiculous bias. 2 recent hit pieces one on Stan Nord quoting Professor Bob Broad (Julie Hile’s partner) and one about David Blumenshine. Yet they report absolutely nothing about the theft in Normal Government and Illinois State University.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dave Shields and Bob Broad using their positions on the Normal Planning Commission that Koos gave them and getting GLT to write the story for them. What more do you need to know?

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Agreed Angela. WGLT is no longer a news station, they just GIVE you the BLUES, and don’t play them even. They are SO FAR left that they are ONE STEP from pure COMMUNISM–if NOT already there!

    Liked by 1 person

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