Category: News

Future of current public safety facility discussed

North Main Street building could be redeveloped or sold
Published 11:37 am, Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The old public safety building, located on North Main Street, could have a new purpose.

The Administrative and Community Services Committee approved a resolution Thursday, authorizing the mayor to request proposals for potential sale and redevelopment of the older building. Approved Monday by City Council, the old facility could be redeveloped or repurposed following the completion of the new public safety facility this fall.

City Attorney Jeff Berkbigler said there has already been some interest in the development.

“Basically this would allow the city to send out a request for proposals. I think Walt (Williams) has about 20 developers from a database in the area to solicit proposals for redevelopment/reuse of the current public safety building fire station on North Main Street. He’s suggesting a floor of the appraised value of $1,040,000 as the minimum bid requirement,” Berkbigler said. “(They’re going to) try to see what we want, as far as whether it’s just going to be office space, mixed-use residential/retail, strictly retail. All of those items and then hopefully come to a consensus and a recommendation to the Council. The first step is actually issuing a request for proposals and this resolution would allow that.”

 The received proposals will be evaluated and the final selection will be made based off of what can be the most advantageous to the city of Edwardsville. City staff will take into consideration all information, qualifications, proposals, financial resources, and other information that will be presented. The recommendation will then come back to the ACS committee prior to Council approval.

Alderman Tom Butts said the redevelopment will be a beneficial project for the city.

“It’s more than just a price to me,” Butts said. “Is it going to generate more sales tax? What kind of use can it be? How are you going to score it? I think that would be an interesting challenge,” Butts said.

Also included in the property is a 1.34 acre parcel of land and a cell tower used by both police and fire departments.

Berkbigler said the chosen proposal would be obligated to take part in the cell tower lease.

“The cell tower – the proposal would be subject to that cell tower lease, which is still in effect. We would assign that to the prospective developer, I would imagine. There is some cash flow there; I think there’s around $13,000 a year that they would be getting, in addition to the property. It’s our land but we are leasing it to the tower – the tower is owned by a separate entity that leases the land and we do have some equipment but we are relocating our antennae equipment to the new place because of line-of-sight issues,” he said.

Committee members also expressed concern in regards to the mural on the outside wall of the police department.

Director of Parks and Recreation Bob Pfeiffer said the Historic Preservation Committee has already discussed ways to preserve the piece. Berkbigler said there’s also a possibility to get the county involved.

“The mural depicts the county in the area. We talked about maybe getting the county historical museum involved with displaying or repurposing that,” Berkbigler said.

Discussion came to a close and all members of the ACS committee were in favor of the proposal’s approval. The motion was moved forward and approved at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Commercial development in works at I-55 and Route 143 in Edwardsville

EDWARDSVILLE – Pangea Development Co. has announced it has secured a master developer for its newest endeavor, a 95-acre mixed-use commercial development to be located in Edwardsville at the southwest corner of the Interstate 55 and Illinois Route 143 interchange.

The project, named Pin Oak Plaza, will be a joint partnership between C.W. Byron Properties, L.L.C. and Plocher Construction Co., which will own, manage and perform the site development work. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

As currently planned, Pin Oak Plaza will combine a light industrial and logistics business park component with an attractive mixed-use commercial frontage plaza that will include a hotel, one or more restaurants and related amenities.

The development will contain a dedicated entry off Illinois Route 143, tree-lined streets, a 2-acre lake and green space buffers. Pin Oak Plaza will be a major facilitator of new commercial business on the east side of the city, Sean Goding, president of Pangea Development, said.

In addition, the development will result in new infrastructure improvements in that area and will serve as a connector from Route 143 to the planned Plummer Family Sports Park, a 78-acre state-of-the-art sports park that will be located adjacent to Pin Oak Plaza and include multiple soccer, baseball and softball fields.

“Pin Oak Plaza is a good example of a project that balances the city of Edwardsville’s vision and goals contained in the I-55 Corridor Plan as well as the evolving needs of commercial end users by providing a centrally located site with attractive economic incentives, a high traffic count and ready access to multiple forms of intermodal transport,” said Goding. “One of the primary development goals is to help the city continue to develop its role as a corporate relocation destination while creating interstate travel-related amenities and new jobs, all while highlighting the role of Southern Illinois as the logistics and transport center of our nation.”

“We look forward to working with Plocher Construction, Inc. and attorney Christopher W. Byron from the Edwardsville law firm of Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb, LLC. Mr. Byron has extensive experience in assisting clients in real estate development ventures. Additionally, Scott Plocher, president of Plocher Construction Inc. is the president of one of the area’s fastest-growing regional construction companies that focuses on industrial, commercial, and utility construction,” said Goding.

Pangea Development, LLC was formed in 2005 as a land investment, development and management company specializing in the development of ecologically sensitive and LEED certified commercial and residential real estate projects.

The municipality of Edwardsville was aware of Pangea’s efforts to develop the site and expects its involvement to pick up with this announcement, Economic Development Director Walt Williams said. Pangea has requested that the land be included in the area’s enterprise zone, he said.

Pangea has offices in Mascoutah and Hazelwood, Mo.

— From the Illinois Business Journal

Council approves Montclaire Business District Special sales tax will be used for upgrades

The Montclaire Shopping Center will receive a major overhaul in the near future.  

Redevelopment within the Montclaire Business District was approved with a 5-2 vote at last week’s Edwardsville City Council meeting.

Aldermen Barb Stamer, Tom Butts, Art Risavy, Jeanette Mallon and Will Krause were in favor of the motion; aldermen Craig Louer and Janet Stack were opposed.

The approved resolution authorizes an agreement for the city to encourage redevelopment and renovations in the district, anticipating a cost of $2.2 million. The improvements will include new facades on buildings, rotomill and resurfacing of the parking lot, retaining wall by the Rapid Lube building, rear screening, landscaping, lighting upgrades and storm water drainage improvements.

The developer, Jones Edwardsville Properties, has requested reimbursement from the city in the amount of $1,393,566 after the improvements have been made.

As discussion ensued, Louer said he was opposed to the resolution, as he was concerned about surrounding neighbors and taxpayers.

“If we were to do it, which I hope we don’t, I’d like to see a commitment to all parts of that project. With regard to the estimated costs…what we’re doing is taxing the people to shop there; we’re taxing our citizens to make improvements to private property. In some instances, I think I can justify it in my mind and those instances are instances where we’re asking a developer to go over and above what he would normally have to do in order to provide some extra protection or some amenities for our neighbors — one of those is a wall,” Louer said. “When you get to the façade for buildings, I look at those as investments that an owner should make on his own property. I want higher rent for a house I own, I clean it up and I get higher rent for it…I think it’s inappropriate for us to tax citizens to support the improvements on private property. I think that’s the owner’s responsibility.”

The city has no direct financial obligation with the developer and the costs that will be reimbursed must be eligible through the collection of business district taxes. Taxpayers who shop at the facility will also face a 1 percent Business District Tax.

“I can’t support it,” Louer said. “This is $1.3 million that we are going to tax our citizens and we are going to use approximately $600,000 of to improve private property. As I’ve said before, I’d be willing to vote for this if we limited the cost to the things that I think we’re asking for over and above.”

Butts was in favor of the motion and said he believes this is the best way to get the needed improvements completed.

“I think this is our best hope to get that blighted area. To the question of would we allow it for somebody else who wanted to come in and form a business district? I think we’d give it the same consideration we gave this – absolutely. We did it for Dierbergs,” Butts said. “This does not cost the city anything; it does cost our taxpayers who shop there an additional 1 percent. We had the same thing at Dierbergs. Dierbergs has been a huge success. If we can increase more sales, that’s more sales tax that the city gets as well.”

The additional Business District Tax, according to Butts, will not have a significant impact on the taxpayers who utilize the district.

“All the risk is on the developer. If he doesn’t have sales, if he doesn’t have tenants, if he doesn’t have people going to the cash register, he does not get his money back. I think it is not corporate welfare; I do not think we are putting a burden on our citizens. If they don’t want to shop there, they don’t have to shop there,” he said.

Discussion came to a close and the resolution passed.

For more information about the Montclaire Business District, visit the city’s website at

Montclaire Business District plan moves forward

Cody King Published 4:07 pm, Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An ordinance establishing the Montclaire Business District and Business District plan was approved at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. This will establish the Montclaire Business District in order to provide a funding source to the developer to pay for infrastructure and façade improvements to the site. If approved, another ordinance will make its way to the Administrative and Community Services Committee to establish a tax rate and a development agreement.
City Attorney Jeff Berkbigler said this ordinance is just to pave the way for a future development agreement between the City and the developers.
“This would be adopting the plan. We don’t have a development agreement. This has been held in the ACS Committee in the hopes of having a development agreement concurrently to pass this. We’re very close on our development agreement, but timing wise, we are requesting that the business district be established because we have 90 days from the date of the public hearing, which was on December 6th. This is the last meeting before the expiration of that 90-day period,” Berkbigler said.
If the approval of this ordinance didn’t go through, Berkbigler said the developers would have to go back to the drawing board.
“If we didn’t get it established in that time, then we would have to go through the process of notice of publication for additional public hearing. Staff felt that the public hearing we did have that there weren’t any comments averse to the business district at that time. So one of the comments that came out of ACS though was there be a ‘shock clock’ on this and we did amend the ordinance after ACS to include that if we don’t have a development agreement passed by March 22, which is the last meeting in March, that the business district would not be filed with the state and the ordinance would be terminated,” he said.
By establishing a business district, this will allow for the city of Edwardsville to pledge tax revenue towards redevelopment within the district. However, in order to qualify, the area must meet one of the following criteria: constitute an economic or social liability, have the existence of conditions which endanger life or property by fire or other causes retards the providision of housing accommodations, or it can be defined as a ‘blighted area,’ meaning it’s an area that has inadequate street layout, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, deterioration of site improvements, improper subdivision or obsolete platting.
As the Montclaire Shopping Center is classified as a ‘blighted area,’ it qualifies.
Berkbigler said he believes the development agreement following this ordinance will be available at the next ACS meeting.
“I’m fairly confident we will have a business district development agreement to be presented at the next ACS meeting. On March 2, there’s only a couple of exhibits that we need to get from the developer so we should be able to get that through and get that done in plenty of time if it’s approved. If it’s not approved, for whatever reason, then the business district itself will go out,” he said. “This does not give the developers any money. It just establishes the district to give us the vehicle or the foundation to be able to entrance into the development agreement with the developer.”
Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton said it’s important to move the motion forward and make changes after the development plan is received.
“In the meantime, they’ve got to know that the Council is supportive for the development of a business district so they can go out and do the diligence and get the numbers and present the develop agreement with facts. On those facts, if you don’t like some things about it and the aldermen agree to strike this maintenance or the roof here or those types of aspects, fine. This is just step one and we’ve previously done this at Town Centre,” Patton said.
As discussion closed, alderman Janet Stack addressed her opposition to the ordinance.
“Some businesses that are in that district, because I go there, have made improvements inside of their businesses on their own. They are going to be, let’s face it, it’s things that not as many people with a lot of money go there. So we’re hurting the people that have less money and we’re taxing them to have a decent shopping center. I just have a real problem with it,” Stack said.
Alderman Janet Mallon was in agreement with the ordinance moving forward, and said, “I understand what you’re saying Janet, but this is our city and our community and I think that we strive to have something a little bit nicer than what’s there now. I think if this is the only way to achieve that goal, then I think it’s a good idea.”
Discussion closed and there was a 6-1 vote in favor.
The motion passed, although Stack was against its approval.

SIUE’s Sullivan talks of changing times in workforce, sees economic growth ahead in region

Dr. Tim Sullivan

EDWARDSVILLE – Dr. Timothy S. Sullivan, Ph.D, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Business, said the economic forecast for the area is dependent on several factors, but he sees a bright future ahead this year and in coming years.

Sullivan was a key presenter at the annual Edwardsville Breakfast this past week at Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville.

He showed some various slides that showed growth of about 3.5 percent of the national economy over the last 10-15 years. That growth has slowed in recent years and since 2000 grown at an average rate of about 1.8 percent.

Sullivan’s prediction is for likely more of the same this year nationally and throughout the Madison County region, but he said that is dependent on several factors, including an Illinois State budget or not and what happens in Washington, D.C., in coming months with trade and many other changing factors. Sullivan pointed out an interesting factor that there have been 11 recessions since World War II, something that might take some by surprise.

Since 2000, Madison County and Illinois in general have grown at an average rate of 0.8 percent, he said. The St. Louis Metropolitan area has grown at 0.7 percent and the U.S. economy as stated before has grown at 1.8 percent.

The 2017 forecast by Sullivan is 2.3 percent national growth, 1.3 percent in Illinois, 1.0 in the St. Louis metropolitan area and 1.5 percent in Madison County. The Wall Street Journal predicts 2.4 percent growth, so Sullivan’s predictions mirror others nationally.

Since 2000 the workforce nationally has declined about 3 percent for men and women, he said, translating into several million lost jobs.

Sullivan told the audience that going forward, he expects businesses to find workers in a different way, not as much through conventional newspaper classified listings but postings on the Web and social media, along with contact with community organizations, placement agencies and even churches.

He stressed this is a changing time in the American workforce and employers must adapt with it to obtain the best possible workers.

If you have a news, human interest or sports idea, e-mail or call or text 618-623-5930. Follow Dan Brannan on Facebook and on Twitter.

Edwardsville Breakfast shows city is on upward swing with business, real estate and parks growth

Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton.

EDWARDSVILLE – Spirits were high Tuesday morning at the Edwardsville 2017 Business Forecast Breakfast at Wildey Theatre, reflecting on a sensational year in 2016 and a strong outlook ahead for this year.

Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton started the meeting off on positive note about how 2016 was an incredible year for the city of Edwardsville and the area. Patton was followed by Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler and Cathy Hamilton of BARBERMurphy Group, the moderator.

Madison County Community Development Director Kristen Poshard provided insight to the 2017 prospects. Dr. Timothy Sullivan of SIUE then gave national and local economic outlook, Mike Hurley, of Balke Brown Transwestern did a presentation on the market analysis for Class A Office Space Outlook in Edwardsville. A Realtors’ Roundtable followed with questions and answers was positioned at the end of the breakfast.

Edwardsville Economic/Community Development Director Walt Williams organized the Business Forecast and was commended by Mayor Patton and the others for those efforts.

“We had a record year of job creation and investment in Downtown Edwardsville,” Patton said reflecting on 2016. “Business is trending up and we made a lot of progress with infrastructure improvements.”

Patton discussed the two spec buildings that were created in the Gateway Commerce Center, one housing the new Amazon distribution business. The mayor also mentioned First to the Finish and Prairie Farms locating headquarters in Edwardsville. He then explained other large projects – the new SIUE Fire Station construction, the new Public Safety Building on Main Street in Edwardsville and Madison County Mutual Insurance Company occupying two floors of the new Park Plaza in Downtown Edwardsville.

Patton said the various construction projects created thousands of jobs and over 1,300 permanent jobs, valued at $154 million to Edwardsville.

Madison County Community Development Director Kristen Poshard
Madison County Community Development Director Kristen Poshard

Poshard said the Gateway Commerce Center area is one of the hottest places to do business throughout the entire region and country. She said creating the logistics enterprise zone has generated a new tax base with transportation jobs and the future looks bright there and throughout Madison County with a changing workforce.

Patton’s final words summed up his prime mission since becoming mayor: “Edwardsville is a place where you can live, work and play” his emphasis during his administration.

J.K. Electric was named the Business of the Year honor at the annual breakfast.

Stories on J.K. Electric, and presentations by Sullivan and Hurley to come.

If you have a news, human interest or sports idea, e-mail or call or text 618-623-5930. Follow Dan Brannan on Facebook and on Twitter.

J.F. Electric named 2016 Business of the Year

Jonathan Fowler, of J.F. Electric Incorporated, accepted the award at Tuesday’s annual Economic Forecast Breakfast.

J.F. Electric Incorporated accepted the 2016 Business of the Year award at this morning’s Economic Forecast Breakfast at the Wildey Theatre. With numerous business owners and city staff in attendance, J.F. Electric was recognized for its efforts and successes over the past year.

Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton presented the award and said after the business located its headquarters to Edwardsville, both the business and the city have grown exponentially.

“J.F. Electric traces its roots back to 1925. A father-owned company, a contracting firm established by James E. Fowler in St. Louis, Missouri. Under the leadership of James’ son Charles R. Fowler, the company expanded and diversified, redoubling its efforts in the southern Illinois market. In 1969, current chairman James C. Fowler, son of Charles, purchased the electric division from his father, founding J.F. incorporated with headquarters in Edwardsville, Illinois. Under James’ leadership, the company expanded dramatically to meet growing demand for commercial, industrial and utility construction. The father family tradition of strong leadership and commitment to quality will continue for generations to come,” Patton said.

“It is my pleasure to present the award for J.F. Electric for their investment in the city of Edwardsville. The city is extremely grateful for J.F. and a key business partner in our community,” he added.

Jonathan Fowler, of J.F. Electric, accepted the award on behalf of his grandfather, Jim Fowler, chairman of the J.F. Electric Incorporated Board. The company provides a variety of services, including electrical design and construction services to utility, commercial, industrial and communications customers while also offering transmission and distribution line construction, design and build, special systems installations, and more.

Fowler said after his grandfather set his sights on the Edwardsville area, the business continued to grow.

“(My grandfather) saw the potential that this city had. Great geographical location, great leadership and eagerness to grow. He thought that this would be a great place to grow as a business and he was right. Ever since then our goal has been to create connections and deliver value in all aspects of business. We seek not only to establish great relationships with our customers, but also to create interactions with the community itself. Our relationships drive our business and continue to remind us why we need business in Edwardsville,” Fowler said.

J.F. Electric has contributed to sponsoring local events, donating funds to the city and also supplying power to its customers.

Fowler said he hopes the J.F. Electric continues to prosper and wishes the best for the other surrounding local businesses as well.

“The relationships between Edwardsville and the businesses that reside here is an important one. Edwardsville is a greater place because of the businesses that are here and the businesses are greater because of the support the community provides. It’s an environment that works for the benefit of everyone that lives and works here in Edwardsville. I truly believe that there has never been a greater time to live and work here in the city. As a lifelong resident, I have seen the community grow and the opportunities flourish. We are currently working on a number of projects here in the city of Edwardsville and see many more on the horizon,” he said.

“We will continue to do our part in bringing more business and people to the city of Edwardsville…we hope others will follow,” he added.

For more information about J.F. Electric Incorporated, visit the company’s website at

New restaurant to open downtown

Crushed Red to offer pizza, salads

Updated 11:28 am, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A new restaurant is coming to Edwardsville in May.

Crushed Red will be moving into the new building at 222 East Park, at the intersection of Park and South Buchanan.

“We’ve been very excited about Edwardsville,” said Powell Kalish, the Chief Development Officer with Crushed Red. “We’ve been looking in Edwardsville for three years. We like the mix of the day population and the night population with the college and the courts and the businesses downtown.”

Crushed Red was founded in St. Louis.

There are three restaurants in St. Louis and there are franchises in Denver and Columbia, Mo. “We’re opening in Overland Park, near Kansas City, and in Chesterfield in March,” Kalish said.

“We describe Crushed Red as elevated fast casual,” Kalish said, adding that they were known for their salads. “Salads are the stars of our game.  We have some that are already dressed or you can craft your own,” he said. “The salad is chopped and dressed in front of you.”

They also offer small pizzas that cook in two minutes, soups, and sharables, or appetizers. “We have a good selection for health conscious diners. We also have a lot of organic,” Kalish said.

The restaurant also offers beer and wine. “We have leather seats, linen tablecloths, and real glassware and china,” Kalish said. The restaurant is 100 percent sustainable, he added, meaning that they compost and recycle everything used. “We can do this because we use real china and glassware,” he said.

“The atmosphere shifts at night,” Kalish said. “We dim the lights and pull the shades. We have people stay a little longer at night.”

Kalish said the restaurant started when the owners saw a need. “People wanted high quality ingredients and atmosphere,” he said. “We saw that there was a gap between Chipotle and full service.” They also recognized the desire for healthier choices, he said.

“We kept the price point in line with fast casual,” he said, “but we have higher quality, health conscious ingredients.”

Some locations are franchised, Kalish said, but those in the St. Louis area are company-owned. The Edwardsville location will be company-owned.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities. We are always looking to see where we might be a good fit,” Kalish said.

The Edwardsville location will have approximately 100 interior seats, with an additional 25 outside when weather permits. There will probably be about 30 employees, Kalish said, with 12 to 15 staff per shift. They will be a mix of full-time and part-time.

“We usually start hiring about 45 days before opening,” Kalish said. “Once we have a more firm timeline, we’ll know when that is.”