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February 4, 2013

Greetings ~


Winter arrived with a flourish since our last NewsLink, but you'll see in today's edition that it's not putting a chill on development in Southwestern Illinois. The last two weeks, we've seen a flurry of positive coverage highlighting new retail and housing projects across the Metro East, new funding for local transportation projects and new jobs at MidAmerica Airport. The levee improvement plans also appear to be back on track, which means we'll see work progressing on that major infrastructure project, which is critical to providing flood protection for the residents and businesses in the American Bottoms. Among those businesses is Gateway Commerce Center, which is garnering media attention as one of the region's top industrial properties. Read on for links to all of these stories and more.


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Top properties: Industrial market looks to be active (St. Louis Business Journal, January 25, 2013)


The Gateway Commerce CenGCClogoter in Edwardsville was one of five St. Louis-area industrial sites that were featured as top industrial properties in the Jan. 25 edition of the St. Louis Business Journal. The highly desired center has a one percent vacancy rate and is currently adding a 600,000-square-foot class A modern bulk spec building that will soon be available for additional tenants. Additional space will also open up this year, and tenants can take advantage of 10-year tax abatement, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.(Read More)

Business at MidAmerica: North Bay Produce increases staff, Boeing may add office space (Belleville News-Democrat, January 24, 2013)


MidAmericMidAmerica Logoa Airport tenants North Bay Produce and Boeing are both showing signs of growth since operations for both companies began at the airport. Opening only last June, North Bay Produce has grown from 6 to 30 employees, but sees a need in the future for more as the company continues to grow. The produce distributor operates out of a 36,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse at the airport. Preparing for the future, Boeing is considering expanding its office space at MidAmerica. While the plans have not been finalized, the company is also looking to add to its current 80 employees that already work at the assembly line. (Read More) 


$2.9 million in federal funds granted for metro area transportation projects (St. Louis Business Journal, January 30, 2013)


As reported in the St. Louis Business Journal, the Metro East has received $2.9 million in Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) funding for transportation projects. Having received 328 application requests for funding, ITEP awarded funding to the following local projects: The Collinsville Downtown Streetscape Phase 4 project, South Main Street Reconstruction in Troy, East St. Louis Collinsville Avenue Streetscape and the West Belleville Bike Trail Phase II project. (Read More)


Corps accepts plan, schedule for Metro East levee work (Suburban Journals, January 29, 2013)


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently committed to the Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention  District Council's timeline to repair the 74 miles of levees in the Metro East, after months of delays. In response, the Levee Issues Alliance, which is administered by the Leadership Council, reactivated the countdown clock on and reaffirmed that it will continue to serve in a watchdog capacity and sound the alarm if it appears the project schedule is being threatened. The $160 million project is still on target to be completed by January 2015. (Read More) 


Coming soon: Hardware store, shopping center, grocery stores in the works (Belleville News-Democrat, January 21, 2013)


The Belleville News-Democrat recently featured several new developments that are underway throughout the Metro East:

  • The first Menard's hardware store in the Metro East will open in O'Fallon this spring. The store will be 162,000 square feet and will include a 42,000-square-foot outdoor warehouse.
  • The Jazz at Walter Circle, a senior housing development in East St. Louis, is expected to open in late March. The four-story, 100,000-square-foot facility will consist of 74 apartment units and will include a grocery store, a credit union and a wellness center.
  • Gordon Food Service, a bulk food delivery service and grocery store, will open at 340 Market Place in Fairview Heights in early April.
  • Cheddar's Casual Café is being constructed on the site of the former Casa Gallardo at 6600 N. Illinois Street in Fairview Heights. The new 10,500-square-foot restaurant will open sometime in May or June.
  • Construction will start this month or next on a new retail center redevelopment in Fairview Heights. The Fairview City Centre, located at 6252 N. Illinois St., will replace existing retail space, and the new center will consist of six stores. Tenants so far include Petco, Office Max and Sports Authority. (Read More) 

Cracker Factory coming back from crumbling (The Alton Telegraph, January 20, 2013)


The historic Kendall Cracker Factory, located at 201 E. Broadway in Alton, is in the process of being renovated and turned into apartments after a storm damaged the building in 2009. The renovations will create a 1,900-square-foot penthouse on the top floor and apartments on the second floor, and according to The Alton Telegraph, the basement and first floor will be used for commercial space. The project has been estimated to cost $1.3 million. The City of Alton will provide $332,735 from the Riverfront Tax Increment Financing District money if specific requirements are met by the owner. (Read More) 



Expanded Wood River police station plan advances (The Alton Telegraph, January 21, 2013)


Leadership Council member AAIC, Inc., of Collinsville, has been chosen to complete the design of the much-needed Wood River Police Department expansion. Earlier this month, the Wood River City Council made a $334,000 agreement with the architect to begin the designs for the $4.5 million project, which includes expanding the facility to 16,591 square feet. According to The Alton Telegraph, the building's main floor will include various offices for administration, records, patrol, evidence, investigation, communications/dispatch, as well as a detention area and sally port for prisoner processing. As part of the project, 2,286 square feet of existing space will be remodeled. Work on the building, which is located at 111 Wood River Ave., is scheduled to break ground in July. The city has approximately $1.5 million in tax increment financing set aside for the project, and the other funding sources will be grant funding and possibly a low-cost loan. (Read More) 



Third floor project goes forward (The Edwardsville Intelligencer, January 21, 2013)


Renovations have begun on the third floor of the Wildey Theater in Edwardsville in hopes of providing the theater with more seating and opportunities to grow. The $85,000 project will be funded through the Parks and Recreation Improvement Budget. According to the Edwardsville Intelligencer, the renovations will include two ADA compliant bathrooms, installation of hardwood flooring and vinyl tile, painting, lighting and electrical work. The building reopened in 2011, and the third floor is the only part of the building that wasn't finished. Renovations will create room for an additional 150 to 175 people. Work is expected to wrap up in March. (Read More) 


Alton recognized for work at old golf course (The Alton Telegraph, January 23, 2013)


The City of Alton has received the annual Carl V. Anderson Conservation Project Award of Honor from the Association of Conservation Engineers. The Alton Telegraph reports that Alton received the award due to the city's work in restoring a riparian zone at the Robert P. Wadlow Golf Course. The project, which was recognized for its excellence in conservation engineering, consisted of reducing sediment and pollution through storm water management and vegetation planting. The project cost $510,165 and was funded through a grant provided by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. (Read More


Granite City Cinema drawing new businesses downtown (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 25, 2013)


According to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Granite City Cinema, which opened in 2010, is starting to spur interest for new developments in downtown Granite City. The cinema, located at 1243 Niedringhaus Ave., has grown since it opened, and business owners are noticing the traffic it is bringing to the area. Developers seeing the downtown area's potential are beginning to renovate the buildings surrounding the cinema. Revival, a home décor store, and Ariello's Pizzeria are located across from the theater and have already seen success. Developers are also hoping to bring a small grocery store, a coffee shop, a microbrewery, a GED testing center and apartments, houses and condos to the area. (Read More) 


Alton eyes riverfront hotel (The Alton Telegraph, January 24, 2013)


The City of Alton hopes to turn the former Great Central Lumber site, located at 81 Henry St., into a hotel and convention center. According to the Alton Telegraph, city officials are going to begin soliciting letters from developers to renovate the 5.18-acre property and the adjacent 1.88-acre parcel, which Alton purchased in 2010 using Riverfront Tax Increment Financing District funds. With an expected cost between $18 million and $25 million, the new hotel would provide 110 to 120 rooms. (Read More) 


In Other News


Be sure to check out BOMA's Winter 2013 Office Leasing Guide in the January 25 issue of the St. Louis Business Journal. The article, "Market confidence makes a comeback" can be found in the guide, and it provides a positive outlook on increased construction and investment activity in the Southwestern Illinois region.


Contact Information

Ellen Krohne

 Executive Director

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois



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