PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The City of Peoria is continuing its vision of transforming the Warehouse District into an urban place to live and work.

There are major plans underway for five new mixed-use buildings with more than 500 residential units and two parking areas to accommodate about 700 cars.

“If you can just imagine 750 people living on one city block, the economic activity that would generate, it’s going to be transformative,” said Michael Freilinger, president and CEO of Downtown Development Corporation of Peoria.

“X” marks the spot for five new mixed-use developments in the Warehouse District

According to Freilinger, 800 SW Adams and 812 SW Washington are under construction, 800 and 801 SW Washington are under developer agreements, and 906 SW Washington is for sale. Each building will have 100 to 120 units, as well as commercial businesses on the first floor.

“We’ve had a vision that the Warehouse District is going to be the first urban neighborhood in the downtown. We’re well along that path. By the time the projects in the pipeline are finished, people will not recognize this area,” he said.

But with more people living downtown, that means more parking is needed.

“We’ve been advocating for the city to get more parking in the Warehouse District because of the amount of development that’s going on,” said Freilinger.

Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich said a $14 million 300-space surface parking deck is the works behind 800 SW Washington on Commercial St. between Oak and Persimmon. Commercial Street will also be extended from Oak and Persimmon to create Depot Rd.

“The reason we’re seeing the need for parking is the demand. So, we’re hoping to fill that demand…We’re very excited by the amount of growth that we’re seeing in the Warehouse District. We’re literally creating a new neighborhood out of these historic buildings and very excited to see it continue to grow and proper,” he said.

The city is adding 700 parking spaces to accommodate the influx of residents and their cars

The city also has a pre-development agreement with a developer to build a 400-space parking garage around SW Washington near Maple. Urich said it will be a public-private partnership that involves demolishing three buildings. He estimated the project will cost $20 million, but indicated the feasibility study has not yet been completed.

“You’re seeing hundreds of apartments that are being constructed. We’re seeing there’s interest and demand in people wanting to move into the neighborhood. So, we’re very excited to help facilitate that and we’re seeing a lot of economic activity, a lot of construction,” he said.

Freilinger said growth in the Warehouse District will also help the adjoining Central Business District flourish.

“Many of the people that live here are going to be working in the Central Business District. It will be an easy commute. You can walk there, it’s only about five blocks…The other thing is that we’ve now basically got most of the large properties either sold or under contract. The next development that comes in is probably going to have to look somewhere else, and most likely its going to be the Central Business District. So we’re going to see the success we’ve had in the Warehouse District migrate into the Central Business District which we’ve all been waiting for, but it just has to be when the time is right,” he said.

Freilinger said the two buildings under construction – 800 SW Adams and 812 SW Washington – will likely be completed by next spring.