EP mayor toasts final beam for downtown project

EAST PEORIA — With five construction sites simultaneously active on the 86-acre parcel of land that will be the new East Peoria downtown, the developer announced Wednesday the start of two more. And this is still phase one.

Ulta Beauty and Gordmans will join Target, Costco, Holiday Inn, Hometown Community Bank and the 32,000-square-foot Fondulac District Library in the $100 million remake of the new downtown area.

“Today is an opportunity to celebrate the raising of steel,” said Mayor Dave Mingus. “What you see here is the first phase. Any area you see bare is potential development.”
Mingus spoke at an event hosted by Cullinan Properties Ltd., the developer of the downtown project, where ironworkers symbolically placed the final steel beam on a multi-use building under construction on West Washington Street.

The two stores announced Wednesday will be constructed adjacent to the new Target retail store off West Washington Street. They will be the second stores of each brand in the area. Ulta is in the Westlake shopping center and Gordmans is located near The Shoppes at Grand Prairie, both in Peoria.

Ulta, a “one-stop shop” salon superstore, offers hair care, skin care, cosmetics, bath and body products and fragrances. The East Peoria store has signed a lease to occupy 11,000 square feet of space next to Target.

Gordmans has committed to lease a 50,000-square-foot space in early 2013. The store carries an assortment of name brand apparel, accessories, footwear, gifts, accent furniture and home fashions at savings up to 60 percent off department and specialty store prices.

The building where the topping-off ceremony was held was one of two side-by-side multi-tenant commercial buildings separated from Target, Ulta, Gordmans and at least six more retail spaces by a large parking lot. The tenants for that building have not been disclosed.

Chris West, Cullinan’s president and chief operating officer, said the developers are in talks with up to 10 interested parties. The area would likely include restaurants with outdoor dining, pedestrian access and an outdoor plaza. The building is directly across West Washington Street from the new library and a future city hall.

We’ll bring exciting news in the next four to six to eight weeks (about new tenants),” West said. “What

you find is that smaller shops follow the anchor stores.”

A Cullinan map shows at least five other smaller constructions that could be retail or office space, or a combination of the two in the same area anchored by Target and Gordmans.
All of the stores that have been named so far will open in 2013 except Costco, which is scheduled to open later this year.

“(The project) is happening at the right time in the right place,” West said. “It would be hard to find another spot where five city blocks of new buildings are coming up simultaneously.”

Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or shilyard@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @scotthilyard.