WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Washington residents just have to wait a few more months until they can expect some huge changes.
CL Real Estate Development, Tangled Roots Brewing Co., and a local couple investing in the project have all partnered to bring a new experience to Washington.
“We’re hoping that this project will also be an award-winning project like the one we had in Lockport, which is a historic property. It won the Landmarks Illinois Adaptive Reuse Award for 2022. We’re very proud of that. We’re hoping that this one’s another,” said Nathan Watson, president of CL Real Estate Development.
The plan is to reconstruct 10,000 square feet of redevelopment on the corner of the square at Walnut Street.
Watson said, “Construction is expected to start this summer and in earnest, it will be starting before then in terms of stages. You know: demo, mobilization, that type of thing, and then we’ll know more and let people know more about when we expect construction to be completed and operations to begin.”
The partners of the project have decided to include a brewpub, dining, a rooftop beer garden, an event space, and short-term rentals.
“It just makes sense right there on the corner of Washington Square, it’s going to be such a changing of the whole area there with when we bring this restaurant and brew pub and brewery and event space,” said Blake Rohrabaugh, CEO of Tangled Roots Brewing Company.
Rohrabaugh explained having short-term rentals placed on top of the business will bring more foot traffic to Washington’s town square, and will allow for more business overall.
“Short-term rentals are very valuable for bringing in guests into the downtown area, also, if you’re going to be attracting groups and events and corporations to do events on the property, it’s very helpful to have overnight stay opportunities. So, there’s a growth opportunity there in downtown Washington,” said Watson.
The partnership started in December 2021. The partners want the entire project done by December 2023, but that’s tentative because of supply chain delays.
The project is costing $6-8 million, with $1.1 million coming from Washington’s tax increment financing money.
“The city is, you know, believes in this project too and it’s catalytic, its ability to transform the downtown and to improve the local business environment and visiting and visitors and hospitality,” said Watson.
The local couple investing in the project, Jeff and Kelly Pohl, are excited to see how it affects Washington’s town square in years to come.
“I look forward 15–20 years and I see myself sitting on the rooftop, looking at the square, alive at night and then with people going back and forth and just enjoying what Washington and Tangled Roots has to offer,” said Jeff Pohl.
Pohl said with so many surrounding communities, it’s an opportunity too good to pass up. With Peoria, Eureka, Metamora, and Blono, people from around the area will now have a place to shop, eat, drink, and stay overnight.
The couple has owned the building for 12 years, and reconstructing the property was a vision Kelly couldn’t let go of.
“Kelly’s always had this dream of a rooftop venue overlooking our historic square,” said Pohl.
Other business owners in the square are excited and ready for the boom in business they hope the project brings.
“The store owner’s here on the square that I’ve spoken to in our specialty shops group, everyone is so excited, cannot wait,” said Barbara Plata, the owner of Define the Home. “Washington is a great place for young families, and retired people. I think once people see our community and how open and inviting it is, people will decide to move here.”
Residents of Washington can expect to see what the building will look like in the coming months. Watson said he hopes to share more details of the project very soon.