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The building that once housed Agrario and Bodega Bar will soon be home to high-end nightclub Zan.
The building that once housed Agrario and Bodega Bar will soon be home to high-end nightclub Zan.

Jalilis buy Patton Avenue building, unveil plans for Zan

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A trio of prominent Springfield restaurateurs known for their vividly decorated fine-dining locales are moving forward with plans to renovate a downtown building as a high-end, Vegas-style nightclub called Zan.

Billy Jalili, wife Sara and brother Mike, who together own Touch and Flame restaurants, bought the 12,000-square-foot building at 311 and 313 S. Patton Ave. from Patton Alley Pub owners Eric and Julie Zackrison for $980,000, according to court records filed in the Zackrisons’ ongoing bankruptcy case.

Carol Jones Realtor Michelle Cantrell represented the Jalilis in the transaction, and R.B. Murray Realtor John Schnoebelen acted on behalf of the Zackrisons.

Last year, the Zackrisons filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and defaulted on a $1.3 million loan from First Home Savings Bank, prompting them to close Agrario fine-dining restaurant and the upstairs Bodega Bar adjacent to Patton Alley Pub.

In June, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved the Zackrisons’ amended Chapter 11 reorganization plan and issued an order approving their request to sell the 12,000-square-foot building that houses Patton Alley Pub and the former Agrario space to the Jalilis. The Zackrisons opened Agrario in October 2002 after a $300,000 renovation to the 145-year-old building that once housed a livery stable.

Billy Jalili said the building’s size and location – not to mention the price – were the factors that solidified the deal.

“We have been in the nightclub/restaurant business since 1985, and we’ve actually been looking for a downtown location for the past year,” he said. “We liked this one, and it was good timing. It was up for sale and in bankruptcy, so we think we got it for a fair value.”

Jalili said building renovations would start soon and last two to three months, with a targeted opening date around Thanksgiving. He wasn’t yet sure how much the project would cost. The Jalilis have hired architecture firm Butler, Rosenbury & Partners Inc. to develop the restaurant’s design with Sara Jalili.

“The inside of it will completely change,” Billy Jalili said. “I don’t want to say too much. I like to open it up and let people come and judge it for themselves. It’s going to be more of a high-end club. … I think it’s going to be a great addition for entertainment for downtown and Springfield.”

Jalili said Zan, which will feature a disc jockey and “some other form of entertainment,” would exude a West Coast feel. The nightclub will serve light appetizers, but most of its revenue will come from liquor sales, he noted.

The Jalilis outbid downtown entrepreneur Paul Sundy, co-owner of Big Whiskeys, Icon Nightclub and Fedora Social House on Park Central East, for the Patton Avenue property. Sundy offered $25,500 more than the Jalilis’ initial proposal, but their counteroffer bested his by $5,000, according to bankruptcy court records.

“It wasn’t really a bidding war, as much as I wish it could have been,” Sundy said. “We didn’t really know what the Jalilis’ bid was. The way it kind of worked out was we were just a backup offer.”

Sundy said he was mainly interested in the building as an investment property with a built-in tenant Patton Alley Pub, which the Zackrisons will continue to operate. Eric Zackrison said his pub has a five-year lease with the Jalilis that includes options for two five-year renewals.

“I think we both ended up with a really good deal: They’ve got a solid tenant absorbing a large portion of the monthly cost of the building, and I’ve got a good solid, long-term lease,” he said. “It’s substantially less than I was paying before,” he added. “It’s allowing us to comfortably pay back all that we have to pay back under the bankruptcy.”

Zackrison said he’s pleased with the outcome on the heels of a tumultuous couple of years overshadowed by the bankruptcy, closing of Agrario and, more recently, a publicized tiff with former Hickok’s Steakhouse partner Scott Tillman, who closed the restaurant and brewery last month.

“I certainly put in a lot of work and effort and learned a lot about Springfield’s restaurant industry, and unfortunately, found out that high-end was tougher downtown than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “I think it just took a while to find what the fit downtown was, and I think the pub’s it.” [[In-content Ad]]

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