another developer, William Boudoures of the Wm. Boudoures Co. in Clayton, Mo.
"Bourdoures came to Collinsville speculatively looking to see what was going on in the city," Mann said. "I gave them my
pitch and told them that we were in a growth mode. They had their eye on this area. I told them what my vision was for the
area and they said they knew someone who might be interested - and that turned out to be Jim Koman. It took a couple of
meetings and we got it done," he added.
Koman said he likes developing in Southwestern Illinois.
"We've enjoyed good relationships with local government, and there's a good business climate," he said. Koman's father,
William Koman Sr., started developing projects in Southwestern Illinois in the 1970s. The Komans also have an ownership
interest in the Casino Queen.
Koman has uncommon vision, according to John Brancaglione, vice president of Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets Inc.'s urban
consulting group and the city of Collinsville's tax increment finance consultant.
"Jim Koman goes places where other retail developers don't have the nerve to go," said Brancaglione. "And after he does
them, he generally proves to be right."
In the 1990s, Koman developed 70,000 square feet of new retail space in East St. Louis including a Walgreens, Save-A-Lot
and Foot Locker. The redevelopment of the Nameoki Shopping Center in Granite City, another Koman project, is currently under
"Again, a place that other people - including the existing property owners - hadn't thought was worth the time and
investment," said Brancaglione, with regard to the Granite City center.
According to Brancaglione, Koman possesses another important quality.
"Part of the success is A: having the vision to understand what these properties can be, and B: having the ability to
transfer that vision to the retailers and cause them to take a risk where they otherwise might not," he said.
The plans for Collinsville Crossing have grown over time. According to Mann, to make it viable, Koman needed three
components: the Wal-Mart Super Center, the Home Depot and a commercial strip.
The project will also include some outlots for smaller, free-standing development.
"We're trying to relocate as many of the existing businesses as we can - either along Mall Street, elsewhere in the
community or elsewhere in the development," Mann said. "For example, Waffle House is staying and building a new building.
Wendy's is staying and building a new prototype. Long John Silver's is staying, too."
Brancaglione said the Route 157 corridor was the victim of a lot of bad decisions in its first go-around. He said
Collinsville Crossing will give the corridor a whole new image and will present a new face of Collinsville.
"This project will cause the development community to take a whole new look at that territory," he said.
Koman has blazed a trail eastward to Illinois, a trail that other Missouri-based retail developers are following.
"At the end of the day, any developer that has the vision to come to the Illinois side of the river is going to prove to
have been a very smart person," Brancaglione said. "Illinois is today where St. Charles County was 20 years ago."