A popular bakery with locations in Libertyville and Round Lake Beach plans a major expansion this summer in downtown Antioch.
Village officials this week announced Lovin Oven Cakery will renovate the former "Hannah's" building at 455 Lake St. as its flagship, with an anticipated opening in later summer or early fall.
The 39,000-square-foot building has been vacant for more than two years, and details involving the project have been under consideration for several months.
"It's the biggest single-unit retail space we have downtown. At one point in time, it was the largest Ben Franklin (store) in the world," Village Administrator Jim Keim said.
Lovin Oven Cakery features hundreds of products, including custom cakes, Danish, doughnuts and breads. Owner Ken Slove, the son of a baker and Antioch High School graduate, founded Lovin Oven in 1989.
"I'm a baker, or caker, from way back," according to information provided by the village. "But what has always been important to me is to give back to the community." He said Antioch represented the right space, location and logistics.
Slove said he anticipates the new facility will have openings for 30 or more new positions throughout the company, and there will be possibilities for on-site kitchen learning, mentoring with schools and community outreach.
"This is going to be a big-time bakery and it's going to bring jobs," Keim said.
"It's going to be a regional thing -- it will be a destination and other businesses, hopefully, will reap some benefits," he added.
Keim said a village incentive is under discussion, but has not been finalized. An official community ribbon cutting and dedication are planned.