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August 6, 2012


Greetings ~


In the three weeks since our last edition of NewsLink, there has been a flurry of additional news coverage that shows Southwestern Illinois continues to attract new investments in a range of industry sectors. From the small businesses and retail and restaurant outlets that have earned Edwardsville a spot among the region's "hip hoods," to the new housing development underway in the Emerson Park neighborhood and new office development activity in Columbia, Ill., there's a lot going on in the Metro East this summer. Read on for details on these stories and more. 

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Jazz @ Walter Circle: New housing development follows Emerson Park's Success (The Belleville News-Democrat, 7/16/12)


HBD Construction is heading a $22 million project in old Emerson Park. The building, Jazz @ Walter Circle is a four-story, 100,000-square-foot complex. A total of 74 apartment units will be available in the new senior housing and commercial development. Along with residential space, a grocery store, a credit union and Southern Illinois Regional Care will all have space on the first floor. According to The Belleville News-Democrat, the structure will gain LEED Gold certification due to its use of solar panels and various other energy sources. The project is set to be complete by October. (Read More)   


Hip 'Hoods: New generation energizes Edwardsville (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/19/12)  

A recent feature story in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch shines a spotlight on all of the new businesses and a younger group of residents that adding to the vibrancy of the Edwardsville area. The growing college town now boasts everything from a great selection of restaurants and bars, to theaters and arts centers. (Read More)


Starbucks coffee shop to open at SWIC (The Belleville News-Democrat, 7/18/12)


The liberal arts building currently under construction on the Southwestern Illinois College campus will undergo an additional $225,000 in modifications. The Board of Trustees gave its approval of the money for the changes, which include the addition of a Starbucks coffee shop. The Belleville News-Democrat reported that SWIC spokesman Mike Fleming thinks that the addition will draw community members and not just students and faculty. The $19.1 million project budget included a 4 percent contingency fund, and since the project is within budget, it was determined that the contingency funds could be used to add options on to the new building.(Read More)


CM renovation includes science labs, classrooms (The Alton Telegraph, 7/23/12)


The Bethalto School District's Health Life Safety work was set to be completed at Civic Memorial High School by July 27th. The work included the addition of two chemistry/physics lab classrooms, a biology lab classroom, and a life science lab as well as two classrooms. According to the Alton Telegraph, each lab will have eight stations that can accommodate up to four students each. Each station will have access to water, gas and electricity. The renovations moved both the math and social studies classrooms to a new addition of the building.  (Read More)


In related news, a recent unanimous vote by the Bethalto School Board has paved the way for construction of a second gymnasium for the school. The expanded facility will enable the school to host additional sporting events while helping to eliminate the overcrowding that currently takes place in physical education classes. The Illinois Capital Development Board is funding the project through a $5.2 million reimbursement grant. (Read More)  


ECF spends $1 million for new Illinois headquarters (St. Louis Business Journal, 7/27/12)


ECF, Inc. has decided to consolidate from two locations into one based in the Metro East. The petrochemical contracting firm is moving from Soulard and Sauget to Columbia, Ill. The firm decided on the location due to property values. According to the St. Louis Business Journal, the new headquarters will have about 5,000 square feet of office space with another 5,000 of shop/warehouse space to accompany it. (Read More)


Deal between Central School District, O'Fallon paves way for the St. Elizabeth's hospital plans (The Belleville News-Democrat 7/30/12)


Plans to build a new medical center in O'Fallon have progressed thanks to a recent agreement between the city and Central School District 104. According to the Belleville News Democrat, District 104 will receive a 30 percent "pass through" of profits from a tax to pay for infrastructure and site preparation. The Hospital Sisters Health System will soon submit completed designs for the 144-bed hospital, which is estimated to have a total cost of $300 million, for state approval.(Read More) 


Company expanding at Alton Center (The Alton Telegraph, 8/2/12)


The Alton Telegraph is reporting that 1410 Discovery Parkway, a subsidiary American Water Co., will build an expanded office space at Alton Center Business Park to accommodate growth in its business. The company will expand to 24,000 square feet in the unfinished warehouse space and create a new entrance on the west side of the facility. The $2 million project, which will be headed by Leadership Council member Contegra Construction, is estimated to be complete by early December. American Water Resources currently employs 80 people. (Read More) 


New warehouse proposed for Gateway Commerce Center (The Alton Telegraph, 8/3/12)


Edwardsville City Council, Pontoon Beach Village Board and the Madison County Board are set to vote soon on plans to expand the enterprise zone encompassing Gateway Commerce Center, a decision that could potentially lead to an $80 million construction project and nearly 800 new permanent jobs. The plans in the works call for creation of the largest warehouse in the area, development of which would employ an additional 400 in construction jobs over a 13-month period. The expansion would also allow for a new hotel to be built in the Pontoon Beach property. (Read More)  





In Other News


Tourism revenues reach new high in 2011 (The Alton Telegraph, 7/24/12)  


The Alton Telegraph recently reported that tourism revenues generated $31.8 billion for the State of Illinois this past year. This is an increase of 8.4 percent over the prior year. A separate news release from the Tourism Bureau ILLINOISouth indicates that in their 19-county region there was a 7 percent increase in visitor expenditures, as they rose from $994.53 million in 2010 to $1.064 billion in 2011. The Illinois Office of Tourism in Springfield is working on increasing those numbers again and attributes the past year's increase to a surge in leisure travel. (Read More).


Local real estate agents encouraged by rise in home sales (The Belleville News-Democrat, 7/29/12)


After an increase in home sales in St. Clair and Madison County over the first six months of 2011, the Belleville News Democrat is reporting that local real estate agents hope to see the trend continue. The Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois, a new member of the Leadership Council, indicates that conditions remain strong for buyers as interest rates remain at historic lows.(Read More)    




Contact Information

Ellen Krohne

 Executive Director

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois



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