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Year in Review 2015: Southwestern Illinois
 
Main Street Abbey, 11 South among projects to watch in Columbia

By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
    COLUMBIA — The city is seeing progress on multiple fronts, starting at its front door and working down Main Street.
    Work is underway on 11 South, a $12 million medical/office development that represents the first of potentially four buildings in a complex planned at 247 Sand Bank Road at the north end of Columbia. It’s one of the first things people see as they enter town along Illinois Route 3 from the north.
    Ground was broken in October by development partners and businessmen who will be the first tenants. The group includes: Joe Koppeis, principal of Admiral Parkway, Inc., the developer; Dr. Michael Kirk, of Progressive Family Care; Fred Shinn of ATI Physical Therapy; and  Dr. Donald Unwin, of Quantum Vision Centers.
    Most of the first building is pre-leased, including space for Community Health Systems, which plans an Urgent Care facility.
    Paul Ellis, community and economic development director for Columbia, said the city annexed the 21-acre property about a year ago.
    Another project with exciting potential, he said, is Main Street Abbey, for which the city has initiated a feasibility study on a new TIF district.
    Gregg Crawford, a Columbia native who renovated the building that is now the Reifschneider’s Grill & Grape restaurant, has proposed doing the a $4.5 million project, with city assistance. His company, Main Street Redevelopers LLC, wants to redevelop the block at Main and Liberty streets that houses the Immaculate Conception School, the former church and convent, and other buildings.
    Main Street Abbey would provide adaptive reuse over a three- to five-year period of the existing historic buildings for purposes as diverse as an event center, boutique hotel, garden restaurant, movie theater, craft brewery and lofts.
    The vision is patterned after McMenamin Brothers’ Kennedy School complex in Portland, Ore.
    The church vacated the building and put it up for sale when it moved to a new site on Palmer Road. The congregation plans to build and relocate the school over the next few years.
    The Abbey development could conceivably begin even before the current school moves.
    “You could separate them functionally,” Ellis said. The buildings that are empty now represent about half the property. The school would be the other half.
    The city has engaged PGAV Planners of St. Louis to undertake the study, funded by the developer, to determine the feasibility of authorizing incentives, which would have to be generated from the redevelopment project itself.
    The Admiral Parkway redevelopment district is also beginning to pick up again, including a new Brite WorX Car Washery that will open this month near the Hampton Inn along Admiral Trost Drive.
    After a few years of inactivity, interest is being shown in several lots in that vicinity, Ellis said.