Another major Warehouse District project announced with new restaurant, residential spaces

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PEORIA, Ill. — The excitement rolls on in Peoria’s Warehouse District, as another major project was announced Thursday.

Developer Casey Baldovin took community members on a hardhat tour of what will be The Center, a mixed-use facility featuring 25 new apartments, bars, restaurants, and an indoor marketplace with some eateries.

The Center is taking over the William F. Grawey Building, covering 809-833 SW Adams St. Grawey was the first owner of the building, back in 1914.

At the revitalization announcement Thursday, Grawey’s grandchildren said the new project is exciting.

“I think it’s wonderful what Peoria’s doing in the Warehouse District and I think it’s great,” granddaughter Sue Grawey said. “We’re real pleased with it.”

“We have a lot of family memories here,” granddaughter Jeanne Barclay said. “Many of the children and son-in-laws of [his] also worked in this building. It’s a rich history for our family and we’re absolutely thrilled.”

Casey Baldovin, the CEO of area-based Baldovin Construction Co., is leading the charge, bringing new energy to the historic district.

“If we get started in May or June time-frame, we would have a lot of the commercial tenants, the initial five that we have would probably be up and running in mid-to-late fall,” Baldovin said.

He adds that he wants to honor William F. Grawey’s impact on the Warehouse District.

“I want to bring that rich history and beauty back to the Warehouse District and Peoria, this is my way of giving back. I believe this building is the center of the Warehouse District. I believe moving forward, this is where that energy will be,” Baldovin said.

Baldovin says if store owners and entrepreneurs to bring their businesses to The Center, his company would help them be successful.

“We’re bringing this marketplace in, it’s going to help them. We’re taking on the kitchen costs, help them get in, help them get their systems down. Provide something for working people down here. We’re looking at OSF, 800 people working down here,” Baldovin said.

Baldovin says he will announce what restaurants and bars will be announced in the next 1-2 months.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said there were ideas thrown around years ago for the Warehouse District to be similar to Chicago’s Wrigleyville.

“We all expected it to happen a little bit quicker but there are things like the recession that happen in the middle of that,” Ardis said. “But at the end of the day, the investments that we made on the infrastructure is what’s really allowing all this to happen.”

Baldovin told the Grawey family he plans to keep the William F Grawey sign on the top of the building.

“That man’s vision, for what the Warehouse District is, and what Peoria could be, it’s a beautiful, rich history that this place has,” he said.

He got the inspiration for The Center from Milwaukee’s public market and Cincinnati’s Findlay Market. He hopes to allow vendors and entrepreneurs the opportunity to sell their products, and eventually have music festivals down on Adams St. The apartments will be ready by spring 2021, Baldovin projected.

With $11 million planned in renovations, The Center is designed to add more to the already-thriving Warehouse District.

Baldovin hopes to be able to host outdoor music festivals on SW Adams street where they’d have to shut the road down for a couple hours, bringing an environment to the Warehouse District where people can walk around and socialize.

It is across the street from Baldovin’s other development, directly across the street, where more residential space with luxury-style apartments will be available, as well as new retail space. This will take over the Federal Warehouse Co. building and Mitchell Fabrics building next door.

Baldovin plans to break ground in May or June and having the retail space and marketplace open by the fall. He adds the residential units should be opened by early spring in 2021. He plans on doing half of the building, getting tenants in, and then doing the other half of the building.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says there is more exciting news to come at the State of the City Address which is hosted on Tuesday, February 4.

The Baldovin Construction Co. also worked on the Childer’s Eatery on University St., Slow Hand Craft BBQ in Peoria Heights, Sucré Sweets and Socials in Morton, and more.

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