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Fairview Heights’ shopping areas looking at adding residential units

Retail stores are often situated in buildings that have residential apartments on upper stories, but that concept has never been tried in Fairview Heights.

Now, the possibility of adding such living units above ground-level shopping complexes at locations in the city represents a new and radical concept under consideration for one or more sites.

While emphasizing that the idea is somewhat preliminary, Fairview Heights Director of Economic Development Paul Ellis told the city’s business alliance commission recently that the concept is being looked at by representatives of a couple of unidentified retail centers here.

The possibility is driven by loss of revenue suffered from low sales and store vacancies, Ellis explained to the members of the commission, a body of people appointed by city government to make recommendations concerning economic matters, primarily retail oriented.

The center representatives have had initial discussions involving both Fairview Heights Director of Land Use and Development Andrea Riganti and Ellis.

“It will be a big change,” Ellis said, adding he plans to report further to the business alliance commission as information becomes available.

The economic development strategy was actually brought forward in late 2019, Ellis noted, but the coronavirus pandemic caused any movement to stall since then.

“Whether they will ultimately see us as a place they can do that and make a profit, the jury’s out yet, but they are considering it, looking at it and talking to the property owners right now,” Ellis said.

This would involve, as Ellis made clear, building on top of what are now one-level stores in those shopping centers

Among the healthiest of the one-level centers in Fairview Heights are Lincoln Place, where Lowe’s Home Improvement Center and Kohl’s are located; Lincoln Place Phase Two two blocks south of there where Old Navy, Marshall’s and Aldi can be found; and the City Centre complex, the home of the local Fresh Thyme, Home Goods and other stores, plus the newly opening Raising Cane’s eatery.

The others located in the city include: Crossroads Centre, anchored by Big Lots and Sky Zone; Winchester Plaza at the corner of Illinois Route 159 and Frank Scott Parkway, Marketplace where Best Buy and Burlington Coat Factory have operated successfully for decades; Fairview Heights Plaza off Ludwig Drive between Route 159 and Ruby Lane; the Schnucks Plaza west of the grocery store with that name; Commerce Plaza, anchored by Gordon’s Food Service; Pontiac Plaza located at the intersection of Route 159 and Ashland Avenue, and a much smaller one than the others; a strip known as Midway Plaza on Lincoln Trail just west of Route 159.

Information supplied by Randy Pierce of Fairview Heights Tribune.

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