“Give us the infrastructure and things will come.” As long-in-the-works projects in downtown Peoria and the Warehouse District come to life, developer Pat Sullivan’s words ring ever truer. For years, we’ve talked of downtown development, and we’ve followed the progress every step of the way. Today, those “things” are here, as plans on a shelf become projects completed. The transformation grows more tangible with each day.
I’ve always admired the dreamers and the doers, the risk-takers and visionaries, those with persistence and patience, who see their projects through to completion. There are so many moving parts—in any development—and all of them must align for the timing to be right.
“Contract or lease negotiations, site acquisition, zoning, legal issues, architectural design, engineering, environmental concerns, title issues, plat approvals, financing issues, up-front capital requirements, credit risks, competition, long lead times, shortened lease terms and increasing construction costs”—all of these elements contribute to the complexity and risk for developers, as Dave Maloof, president of Maloof Commercial Real Estate, notes in this issue.
That’s not to mention the federal grant that helped fund those infrastructure improvements, the dollars invested by the City of Peoria, and new legislation out of Springfield that created the first historic tax credit in Illinois history. Without these critical components, work might never have begun.
Elsewhere, there is concern in back-filling the empty offices and stores that also dot the area. In retail, especially, the Internet has changed everything. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses continue to face new challenges, as changing consumer habits and preferences apply the forces of creative destruction to nearly every aspect of the economy.
Yet there is cause for hope. While Macy’s has left Northwoods Mall, a new anchor, yet to be announced, will take its place. The old Kmart at Evergreen Square will become a new Kroger Marketplace, retooled for the changing world.
Coinciding with this issue, our company will be moving to a new space later this month. We are happy to move into a building owned and occupied by Hometown Banks near the Metro Centre, giving us additional space and a layout better suited for our changing needs.
It’s been over a decade since our last move, and I’m reminded of just how much coordination is required in order to minimize disruption to operations. It takes a team, and I applaud our partners, who are helping to make the transition as painless as possible. We’re excited to start this new chapter! iBi