EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – A vacant space in downtown East Peoria will soon be home to hundreds.

The grassy fields surrounding city hall will be replaced with concrete foundation, prepping the location for what will eventually be “501 Blutowne.”

“Flaherty and Collins out of Indianapolis is the developer, and it’s scheduled to start hopefully by the Fall, and it’s going to be a great addition to the Levee District,” Rick Swan, executive director of East Peoria’s Chamber of Commerce, said. “It’s next to city hall and will take up across from the roundabout, the “L” shaped section of grass right now.”

Swan said it will be a 233-unit apartment complex with 10,000 square feet of commercial space. He said it will stand across from the booming business district and will include a parking deck and office and retail space on the ground floor.

“It’ll be a great living complex for people that are maybe empty nesters now or young professionals or just young people coming to the community working anywhere in the Central Illinois area,” Swan said.

Mayor John Kahl said the project has been in talks for about three years, but COVID-19 and inflation have caused delays. However, he said the plans are on track now to break ground in the fall.

He said even the name “501 Blutowne” is a throwback to the city’s history.

“The original name of East Peoria was Bluetown, so their marketing group came back and tied in 501 is the address because it’s just west of city hall and west Washington,” Kahl said. “It sticks, they sold me on it and I think it’s going to be awesome.”

Kahl said the original idea for the Levee District always included a residential area along with the retail section, but plans changed over time. He said the upcoming complex, which is estimated to cost $50-$55 million, brings the idea full circle.

“It’s just going to be a nice edition that’s going to complement what the original vision was,” Kahl said.

Swan said the addition of the apartment complex will also help businesses throughout the region.

“The proximity to downtown Peoria is great because of the Civic Center, the museum, all of those things that are there, people living there are going to help support that,” Swan said.

He said the project is expected to be completed by 2024.