City Council Hears About Possible Retail Development Project

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Published on December 19 2012 3:03 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham City Council members Tuesday got to hear about a retail development possibility.

Representatives of G.J. Grewe of St. Louis were present to share about plans to redevelop a portion of the Keller complex on Effingham's northwest side.  Grewe's has developed a number of retail complexes in the St. Louis area on both sides of the river.  Bill Appelbaum of Grewe's said they were contacted by a retailer who wanted to locate in Effingham.  He said when the retailers approach them, rather than the other way around, it peaks the firm's interest.  They've been in Effingham since the summer, seeing what might be developed. 

At present, Appelbaum said they're looking at taking down the back portion of the building housing TGI Friday's, which would mean the K Bowl complex.  It would be replaced by a series of retail buildings, north to south under the current proposal, with a roadway remaining between the buildings and the Convention Center as is now the case with the bowling alley.  Appelbaum said the current design is still subject to change.  He knows there are other retail options, but said the location being considered is the "gateway" to Effingham.

Appelbaum indicated the developers would be looking for assistance on the development project, but no proposal was ready for Tuesday's meeting.  City officials encouraged Grewe officials to continue their work without making any promises of how they might help.

Also Tuesday, the Council amended the liquor control ordinance increasing the number of B-1 licenses by one to facilitate a development planned in the former Rexroat's building downtown and an additional B/E license for a development in the former Ichabod's building on South Banker.  Bangkok Thai turned in their Class R license so the number of those licenses was reduced by one.

The Council awarded a $1,031,875 contract to replace the Little Wabash River channel dam, a project that has been discussed by several City Councils over the years.  Typically, the project was bumped for more high-priority items.  The Council also awarded a $359,118 contract to rebuild Merchant Street from Jefferson to St. Anthony Avenues into a curb and gutter street.

Council members also heard that City Police Chief Mike Schutzbach landed a grant to pay for two in-car cameras for City squads; heard that the next Council meeting will be Wednesday, January 2; heard from City Administrator Jim Arndt that the electricity aggregation letters will go out to city electricity customers next week; and heard from City Economic Development Director Todd Hull that more than twice as many visitors as last year have been through this year's Wonderland in Lights display in Community Park, generating more than twice as much in donations as last year.