North Street PNC property sold

September 21, 2018

The former PNC Bank property on North Kinzie Avenue has been purchased by a Kankakee business couple.

Vacant since August 2014, the property recently was bought by Mike and Michele Pinski.

The Pinskis purchased the property a few months ago for $425,000, according to Kankakee County Records of Deeds documents.

The approximate 9,600-square-foot building will be the new home for the Kankakee County Title Company. The title company, which has been at 202 N. Schuyler Ave. since 2007 and in downtown Kankakee for 104 years, will be taking up about 7,500 square feet.

A new Wash N Winnie’s location will be developed on the north east side of the building facing North Kinzie. Pinski said Wash N Winnie’s will take the remaining 2,000 square feet.

He confirmed that Michele is seeking a liquor permit to operate a beer and wine cafe as she has at the seven other locations of Wash N Winnie’s. She has applied to the state’s gaming board for up to five video gaming stations for the location.

The title company is seeking to be moved into the location by the first week of October. The laundry and cafe are not expected to be ready until early December.

The move of Kankakee County Title from the former Graham building in the 200 block of North Schuyler Avenue frees up 8,400 square feet of space.

The Kinzie location will be the eighth location for a Wash N Winnie’s.

“This was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” Pinski said of the property. He said about $250,000 to $300,000 will be invested to transform the location to accommodate Wash N Winnie’s. He said the rest of the building only needed painting and minor repairs.

The former bank’s drive-thru recently was removed to make way for the east-side entrance to Wash N Winnie’s. The title company’s entrance will be on the building’s west side.

There is a growing concern about technological advances reducing the need for people in the workplace.

A robot or a computer can do the task more efficiently and effective than human beings, or so the thought goes.

Well, said Jesse Erickson, associate manager of business development at the Manteno-based engineering firm, E2i, there is certainly truth to that, but this does not mean humans are not needed in the workplace.

At Wednesday’s Economic Alliance of Kankakee County’s “Power Hour” program on manufacturing automation, Erickson explained workers will always have a place in manufacturing.

“This isn’t automate more and fire people,” he said. He pointed to the local example of CSL Behring. He noted the CSL plant in growing at a rapid pace and automation and computer programming is certainly heavily used there.

“But their workforce continues to grow. They are always hiring,” he said.

The role of workers simply changes.

“Automation adds to the job force. We’ve seen a huge growth cycle. ... Automation doesn’t take from the job market, it changes the roles of employees.

“I understand the fear and it’s true jobs won’t be the same,” he said. “... And many large companies are investing in this.”

Erickson said E2i engineers see this first hand. Many E2i engineers are employed by firms going through these type of changes. The company also helps design workplace operations which help companies meet these changing times.

In addition to its Diversatech-based headquarters, the company also has offices in Indianapolis, Ind. and Boston, Mass.

Currently, E2i employs about 40, the vast majority being engineers. Erickson expects the company could have a workforce of 50 within a year.

The company was founded in 1990 by Jesse’s father, Eric, who started as an Olivet Nazarene University physics teacher. He soon found himself working at Armour Pharmaceutical, CSL’s forerunner. Then he decided the time had come to start his own engineering business.

The company is in the early stages of developing a virtual, on-site training center which will be designed to help clients understand and learn how to work with newly-developed integrated systems.

Erickson said this project should be ready for clients sometime in 2019. He said the trouble with developing this training center is finding the time for their engineers to develop it.

In addition to robotics and computer upgrades, the company specializes in validation of processes and equipment; security; mechanical, plumbing and electrical design; and wastewater treatment systems development among many other processes.

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