residential, as has been done at Civic Center Plaza at Jefferson Avenue and Fulton Street, said Freilinger. He predicts the first building to get that treatment in the Central Business District will be the PNC Building at 301 S.W. Adams St. The building’s long, narrow structure is conducive to apartments, and it brags an attached parking garage. The project could be in the works within a year, said Freilinger. The Riverfront District, meanwhile, will be getting a Riverfront Park redesign between the Murray Baker and Bob Michel bridges, offering greenspace and recreational amenities. “For the riverfront redevelopment, we’re currently awaiting $15 million from the State of Illinois for the grant that was approved by the General Assembly,” said Urich. “It’s just a matter of time” before the funds are released to the city. BUSINESS BACKING The chairman of the Downtown Development Corporation is Robert Anderson, president of OSF HealthCare – Saint Francis Medical Center. “OSF has a vested interest in Peoria,” Anderson said. “It’s the community that our founding sisters came to 140 years ago. It’s where our largest medical centers are located, where our corporate headquarters is located, so OSF has long had Peoria as the heart of our ministry. “It’s part of our mission of caring for the communities that we serve. Those communities, in addition to high quality health care, deserve robust residential, businesses and downtowns. There’s a reason why OSF is one of the founding members of the DDC, because we do see that a stronger Peoria benefits everyone, including OSF.”

DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION PROJECTS DEVELOPMENT ADDRESS 214 Cooperage 214 SW Pecan St. Persimmon Lofts 1028 SW Adams St. Winkler Lofts 733 SW Washington St. Sealtest Building Residential 736 SW Washington St., Unit 2B Winkler Place 725 SW Washington St. Winkler Market 709 SW Washington St. Sealtest Building Commercial 736 SW Washington St., Unit 1E The Block 1009 SW Washington St. Marquette Building 701 Main St.

thing about the Warehouse District is it checked off all the boxes for TIF, the city’s major incentive program, which works extremely well in the Warehouse District.” Because the cost of purchasing the century-old abandoned buildings in the Warehouse District and the taxes assessed on them were significantly less than in the rest of the Downtown, the initial investment for developers was more manageable and made the Ware house District a good location for the DDC’s time and energy, Freilinger said. ‘PEOPLE ON THE STREETS PROVIDE ACTIVITY, WHICH MAKES IT AN EXCITING PLACE TO BE’ — Michael Freilinger Meanwhile, the demand for apart ments was immediately evident. With rents ranging from $850 for a studio unit to $1,800 for two bedrooms, residential property doesn’t stay vacant very long, said Freilinger. Some 500 new housing units have been added Downtown, with another 419 units “in the pipeline,” he said. “We have eight really big buildings in the Warehouse District. Five of them are either done, under construction or a developer has them under contract,” Freilinger added. “So, we only have three left. “The prime inventory for redevel opment is big buildings. A developer

doesn’t want to do a building with only two units in it. They want 100 units.” Almost 3,000 people now live Down town spread across 1,500 residential units, according to the 2020 census. PIVOTING ELSEWHERE With most of the residential redevelopment now identified in the Warehouse District, the DDC is turning its attention to the Central Business District, particularly the city’s tallest office buildings, each with multiple floors of empty space. That redevelopment may get a boost on Main Street, where Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich said the Illinois Legislature has approved the expenditure of $25 million to repave Main from Washington Street to Farmington Road. “My hope is that includes some streetscaping in the downtown,” said Urich. Because buildings in the Central Business District have a higher valuation for tax purposes, if a developer invests $20 million into a building there, that taxable value goes up much less than the same investment in the Warehouse District, said Freilinger. On the flip side, the Central Business District has ample parking, which is lacking in the Warehouse District, he said. Another option is convincing current building owners to make the renovations and conversions to

Linda Smith Brown is a 37-year veteran of the newspaper industry, retiring as publisher of Times Newspapers in the Peoria area


Made with FlippingBook Digital Proposal Maker