The New Urban News is a professional newsletter for planners, developers, architects, builders, public officials and others who are interested in the creation of human-scale communities.
by Mark Thomton
The $135 million Block development.
The Pere Marquette hotel renovation will yield a new Marriott hotel.
With a flurry of development proposals on the table and millions of private and public dollars already pledged, developers and local officials hope to prove that economic recessions don't play in Peoria.
Not many communities are in the position to make grand plans today, but Peoria has gone against the grain with $240 million of development proposals that will dramatically change the look of the downtown area. The momentum is from a convergence of civic, corporate and private investment interest as Peoria-based Caterpillar, a recent voter-approved sales tax increase and numerous private investment firms have already secured a significant portion of the capital required for the projects.
The projects---a seven-acre museum campus and a new luxury hotel attached to the recently renovated convention center---are located only blocks from one another and are scheduled to be constructed concurrently.
"This is a unique story," says Jim Richerson, president and CEO of the Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences. "We have a Fortune 50 company partnering with six local cultural institutions to make this happen. Two years down the road, it will be a radically different Peoria."
The museum campus has been dubbed The Block. It will be developed on a defunct 7-acre property that was once a Sears warehouse location. The Block will include the Peoria Riverfront Museum and The Caterpillar Experience, a $41 million interactive museum completely funded by Caterpillar.
Peoria Author Philip Jose' Farmer was a prolific author and a supporter of the libraries of Peoria. His many honors include a World Fantasy Life Achievement Award and three Hugos.
Peoria Economic Development
Stimulated economy through the retention / creation of 525 jobs and $4,354,253 in private investment from existing/new businesses through Enterprise Zone.
Completed the Hospitality Improvement Zone (HIZ) for a new Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) and a Business Development District (BDD) to assist in the improvement of downtown, helping finance the 102 Million Dollar Pere Marquette Marriott Hotel.
Completed concept plans for River Trail Drive, received unanimous approval from the Heart of Peoria Commission, the Planning Commission, and the City Council. Seeking developers now.
Completed the Green Edge Plan and the Cascade Plan calling for redevelopment and improvement of the Riverfront north of downtown.
Continued to lead the redevelopment of Renaissance Park
Issued Private Activities Bonds to the First Time Homebuyer’s Program to allow 186 families to purchase of homes totaling more than $15.5 million.
Allocated $92,000 in public funds through the Façade Improvement Program to leverage $260,000 in private investment for the revitalization of the West Main Street, Sheridan and Prospect Form Districts.
Completed three Enterprise Expansion Applications to assist existing businesses.
Partnered with local employers, realtors, and lenders to create a homebuyer’s incentive program for inner city revitalization.
Completed two redevelopment agreements within the City’s 9 Tax Increment Financing Districts for investment totaling $9.5 million.
Living Downtown Tour
Sunday, June 14, 2009
from 1 pm to 4 pm
Advance tickets purchased online are $10;
tickets purchased at the door are $15.
Ticket are available online at: www.historichometours.com
The tour starts at 74 S. La Salle Street in downtown Aurora, IL.
We think you'll be intrigued and delighted by the eleven homes
open for the Living Downtown tour.
Welcome to the past, the present,
and the future of American cities. Welcome home.
The 2009 Money Smart Week (MSW) will be April 18-25. MSW is a series of free classes and activities designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. You can learn everything from teaching your children how to save to preparing for a financially sound retirement.
While classes are free, some do require registration. Please visit the online calendars at www.moneysmartweek.org/illinois to receive more information and class schedules. In addition, hard copies of the calendars are available at the City Managers office and Planning and Growth Management; and where also included in last week's paychecks.