Metro-East News

New construction planned at busy Belleville intersection

A rendering of a Bank of America branch planned for 1911 Carlyle Ave. in Belleville.
A rendering of a Bank of America branch planned for 1911 Carlyle Ave. in Belleville.

If developer Allan Leving gets his way, a building will come down and a new one will rise in its place at one of Belleville’s busiest intersections.

Leving filed papers with the city requesting permission to demolish the Title Loan Company at 4529 W. Main St., at the intersection with North Belt West, to rebuild the business. The building also would house a second business.

“The new building will accommodate two financial services businesses. Beltline Currency Exchange, Inc. will provide a variety of financial services including check cashing, money order sales, wire transfers and utility bill payments,” Leving wrote in his application. Title Loan Company, the existing business, has operated in the current building since 1998.

Plans call for a 2,421-square-foot, single story brick building to be built in place of the existing structure. Leving is seeking tax rebates and Enterprise Zone assistance from the city to complete the project, which his application states would begin next month and conclude by the end of this year.

Indoor gardening shop open in O’Fallon

You can start the indoor garden of your dreams now that The Indoor Earthworm is open at 116 W. State St. in O’Fallon.

The store specializes in hydroponics, soil, plant nutrition and lighting. Co-owner Travis Wheatley of O’Fallon said he and business partner Nathan Hubbard started the store because they saw a need.

“If not here, Missouri was about the closest place to find something like this,” Wheatley, who previously worked 18 years at a sod farm, said. “Plus, downtown O’Fallon is rejuvenating, and we wanted to be a part of that.”

Wheatley said that as far as plants are concerned, everything sold in the store is organic. He said curious people have popped in to learn more about the store and have come away gardening enthusiasts. “We’re turning heads,” he said.

If that’s not enough, there’s free coffee in the store. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Contact the store at 618-726-7910.

Another Jimmy John’s coming to Collinsville

City leaders last week approved spending $200,000 in TIF money to help the F.O.R. Corporation develop a commercial subdivision that will include a freestanding Jimmy John’s.

The new development is at 701 N. Bluff Road. F.O.R. is close to an agreement with another restaurant that will occupy a lot adjacent to the Jimmy John’s. The restaurant remains unnamed.

F.O.R. expects the cost of the project to exceed $1.65 million. The company has not said when construction at the site will begin.

Once built, it will be Collinsville’s second Jimmy John’s. The other is located at 501 Beltline Road.

O’Fallon Denny’s back open after remodel

It only took 10 days to tear the diner down to the studs and rebuild, district manager Anwaar Hassan said. A grand reopening was celebrated at the restaurant, which is located at 737 W. U.S. 50, Friday.

Hassan said the difference in the layout and appearance of the diner now compared to last month was “night and day.”

Helen Edwards, assistant manager of the restaurant, said so far customers have been dumbfounded at how different the diner looks.

“They love it,” she said.

New features in the restaurant include a new tile floor that replaced the old carpet, modern seating, fixtures and design elements and local decor that includes a Scott Air Force Base-themed mural on one wall. Outside, the building’s exterior was totally redone.

The renovation was part of the chain’s ongoing efforts to remodel most of its locations. Hassan said the next location that he oversees that could get a facelift is the Waterloo location on Illinois Avenue.

And stay tuned: The Belleville Denny’s, located on South Illinois Street, is on the list for a renovation, too. A spokeswoman confirmed the project there would begin in the coming days.

Bank of America plans another Belleville branch

Belleville aldermen will soon decide whether Bank of America can move forward with plans to build a new branch on Carlyle Avenue.

Papers filed with the city by developer Jason Wagner indicate the new branch will be built at 1911 Carlyle Ave., just west of the Green Mount Road intersection. The 3,830-square-foot building will occupy 0.75 acres and feature drive-up ATMs. It would be the third Bank of America location in the city. The others are at 23 Public Square and 330 W. Main St.

The building site is not eligible for any tax breaks or other incentives. The Belleville City Council will consider the matter for final approval at its next meeting, which is set for 7 p.m. Monday.

Tobias Wall: 618-239-2501, @Wall_BND