PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — 500 OSF Healthcare mission partners are less than a month away from moving into their new digs in downtown Peoria.
“We’re a headquarters city again and OSF is our largest employer. This building was almost demolished, and now life has been given to this building and this area,” said Peoria Mayor Rita Ali.
Federal, state and local officials and leaders cut the symbolic ribbon on Friday, celebrating the building’s near completion. The historic white building, originally built in 1904, was on the demolition chopping block until OSF stepped in.
“This would not have happened, this would’ve been in the rubble heap, had it not been for a lot of folks coming together,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline).
Thanks in part to $26 million in federal tax credits, the building is being restored to its 1950s glory.
“There’s 300 columns inside. All of those had to look like the original columns in the original building. That takes a lot of work, and it also takes extra resources… OSF had a vision, we were able to come together to help make it happen,” Bustos said.
Ryan Spain, vice president of economic development at OSF Healthcare, said the building will inject new life into downtown.
“It’s such a shot in the arm for downtown to have hundreds of employees, and really thousands of visitors that will assemble here. It’s going to be great to have people working downtown, having lunch downtown, having dinner downtown, spending their time here and this is what we need. Downtowns need a strong workforce population, and OSF is bringing that back to downtown Peoria,” he said.
Spain added its important to maintain Peoria’s history into the future.
“This is an iconic part of the downtown Peoria skyline and it’s so incredible that it could be preserved, rehabilitated, and really the home now for the largest employer in central Illinois for OSF Healthcare,” he said.
OSF Healthcare CEO Bob Sehring said he hopes the building will trigger more investments in the area.
“We hope the building is a catalyst for that. Love to see other businesses, other services come on down here and join us in downtown Peoria,” he said.
Mission partners will start moving into the building on Jan. 4.