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Warehouse District Update

Construction may soon be wrapped up in downtown Peoria, but city officials say the district’s completion is a bit more complicated.
PEORIA - 1986. That’s when Pat Sullivan, a local developer, first tossed around the idea for the Warehouse District.
 
Nearly 30 years later, the race is starting.
 
“The green light’s just hit on, and the wheels are spinning. And it’s just a matter of seconds before those wheels grab traction and that vehicle goes rocketing off at 100 miles per hour. That’s what I see for the Warehouse District as a whole,” owner of Running Central Adam White said.
 
City officials describe the district as a place people can come eat, play and shop, but also live and work.
 
“It’s like a microcosm of a whole city,” council member Denise Moore said.
 
“You’re trying to make it like a Lincoln Park or Wrigleyville in Chicago type atmosphere, not quite to that scale but similar,” Scott Reeise, city engineer, said.
 
The city has invested nearly $30 million in construction on streets like Washington, Jefferson and Adams, but they say more investments are needed.
 
“The city by itself cannot make this what it needs to be,” Moore said. “We need to have private investment into this, the development of this area.”
 
The area has seen more businesses moving downtown with places like Sugar and Running Central opening up.
 
So with the combination of business development and the completion of construction, they believe the next step is clear.
 
“All our consultants tell us that we need to get living components down here, so we’re working on that very heavily,” Sullivan said.
 
But the answer to when the Warehouse District will be done is not so simple.
 
“This is not something that’s going to stop at a certain date on a calendar,” Moore said. “It’s going to be an evolution.”
 
An end is in sight, however, for all the construction that has been going on for more than a year. Washington Street will be completely open to traffic come July 31. Adams and Jefferson streets should be done by November, and Reeise said the last orange barrel will be gone by spring of 2015.

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