Downtown Edwardsville will have more offices and retail stores now that the City Council has approved selling its public safety facility, formerly City Hall, to a developer who plans to demolish it and construct a new building.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, aldermen voted 6-0 to authorize Mayor Hal Patton to sell the facility to Gori Properties for $1,040,000. Alderman Craig Louer was absent.
“Right now, downtown Edwardsville is a beautiful place,” said Walter Williams, the city’s economic/community development director. “We have a lot of small boutiques and specialty stores that do very well. But we can always use more.”
The new five-story, 70,000-square-foot brick building on North Main and East High will house offices for the law firm Gori Julian & Associates and others on the second through fifth floors, according to a project summary from the mayor’s office.
There will be 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and an underground parking garage. The fifth floor will combine offices with a rooftop terrace.
“The proposed five-story building blends a combination of historic and modern building elements,” according to Gori’s proposal. “The building materials are predominantly masonry. This will be harmonious with the historic nature of the downtown area.”
I like the idea of mom-and-pop local businesses, but it just depends on who comes to see us.
Randy Gori on which retail stores will be opening
Plans also call for demolition of a brick house, recently used as a dentist’s office, at the corner of North Main and Abner Place. This will allow the Gori development to fill an entire block of North Main.
Retail space in the new building will consist of three to five stores, said attorney and developer Randy Gori, but it isn’t known who the tenants will be.
“I like the idea of mom-and-pop local businesses, but it just depends on who comes to see us,” he said, noting other retail spaces that he owns in Edwardsville have rented quickly.
The public safety facility is at 400-410 N. Main St. It was built in 1965 and served as City Hall until 1995, when offices for the mayor, city clerk and others were moved to Hillsboro Avenue. Since that time, it has been home to Edwardsville police and fire departments.
Those departments are moving to a new $12 million public safety facility at West Schwarz and South Main. The ribbon-cutting is set for Dec. 2.
The city published a request for proposal regarding the North Main facility in May and distributed it to 20 developers, according to the project summary. Only Gori Properties responded by the July deadline.
“We’re in several different buildings in Edwardsville right now, so it will be nice to consolidate all of our offices,” Randy Gori said.
The City Council’s Administrative and Community Services Committee had recommended approval of Gori’s proposal after discussion at its Nov. 16 meeting.
Alderman S.J. Morrison, a committee member, has pushed for a diverse combination of offices, restaurants and retail stores around Madison County Courthouse to keep downtown Edwardsville lively and interesting.
“Sales tax revenue is important to the city, but it’s as much about creating a vibrant streetscape,” he said.
Gori Julian & Associates is based in Edwardsville with offices in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. The new building on North Main also will house the law offices of Jeffrey Cooper.
The property is in a tax-increment-financing district.
“The developer is eligible to request TIF funds (for sidewalks or other improvements),” Morrison said. “He has not done that yet, but it could be part of the development and purchase agreements.”
The façade of the North Main public safety facility features an elaborate mosaic-tile mural that chronicles the history of Madison County. City officials have discussed the idea of moving it to the new facility.
Williams said the city has seen $60 million in investments in downtown Edwardsville in the past year and issued 67 permits for improvements, ranging from windows and facades to interior renovations.
He described the Gori development as “a very good project” that adds to an already robust business district. “It’s a commitment to our community,” he said.