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Bank Purchase Advances Plans for New Will County Courthouse

The roughly $4 million contract includes the downtown Joliet bank building and adjacent property.

The $4 million First Midwest Bank purchase could pave the way for a new judicial complex, replacing the existing Will County Courthouse. Credit: File photo
The $4 million First Midwest Bank purchase could pave the way for a new judicial complex, replacing the existing Will County Courthouse. Credit: File photo
Plans for a new judicial complex in Joliet are moving forward.

Will County has inked a roughly $4 million contract to purchase the former First Midwest Bank site at 50 W. Jefferson St., across from the current courthouse.

'We're very excited to see the master plan moving forward," county board member and capital improvements committee chairwoman Denise Winfrey said Wednesday.

Officials have long been looking to replace the existing courthouse at 14 W. Jefferson St., citing overcrowding and wear and tear at the facility, built in the 1960s.


Under the contract, the county will purchase the 4.3-acre First Midwest site, which includes the bank building itself, as well as property south of Washington Street.

Although Darien-based architecture firm Wight & Company is conducting a study to verify that downtown Joliet remains the most economically viable site for a new courthouse, Winfrey said building a new courthouse there "is a part of [the county's] overall game plan."

The First Midwest deal could close this summer.

"It would give us a major footprint downtown for a judicial complex," Winfrey said of the site.

As soon as the deal closes, Winfrey said some Will County workers, including sheriff's department staffers from the Eagle Building on Washington Street,  will begin moving into the bank building to free up space in existing buildings and improve working conditions.

Local officials have pushed to keep the courthouse in downtown Joliet.

"The impact for Joliet would be devastating" if the courthouse moved out of downtown, Winfrey acknowledged last month.

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