YORKVILLE — Area businessmen Ray Stibeck, founder and owner of Route 20, and Mark Porcaro have bought land adjacent to the restaurant-tavern for parking — and perhaps someday a large banquet/event hall.
Stibeck and Porcaro of Porcaro Ford, Porcaro Mitsubishi and Indian Motorcycle of Racine, recently closed on the purchase of 5 acres of land at 1500 Sylvania Ave. for $375,000. The two were also founding partners in the Nash restaurant in the mezzanine above Indian Motorcycle, 522 Sixth St., although Stibeck decided he was too busy and has since withdrawn from that partnership.
The No. 1 reason for the land purchase, said Stibeck, who also started the former Route 20 Chicken & Waffles, 904 Sylvania Ave., is more parking for Route 20, 14001 Washington Ave. It will especially be needed for Harley-Davidson’s 115th anniversary event next Labor Day weekend, he said.
Stibeck said he’ll remove trees, cut the field and have grass parking.
“I might start this fall, but for sure I’ll hit it in the spring,” he said.
His larger vision, and goal, is to build on that land an event hall/concert auditorium larger than any which exists in the Racine area.
“I talked to Real Racine (the tourism bureau), and they said I would need at least 20,000 square feet.” He envisions an event center that could seat at least 2,500 people and also would have breakout rooms for business events.
“If you build a hall, it has to be versatile,” Stibeck said. “You need breakout rooms.”
There are no detailed plans on paper, Stibeck said, but he has been looking at other venues for comparison: “I’m just at the beginning stage.”
Stibeck figures such a venue might cost $500,000 to $700,000, and he would be seeking partners to help finance it.
“I’m nowhere with the financing,” he said. “If Foxconn comes, I hope (an event hall) just sets up this area for success.”
Stibeck said he’s been thinking about building such an event center for years, and his dream has nothing to do with the city’s exploration of having a Downtown hotel/event center.
“I have no interest in competing,” he said. “Nor do I want to affect what the city will do.”
Note: Errors in the original article have been corrected.