The City of Peoria is seeking interest from any entity or entities interested in identifying a proposed development plan for the properties at 801/803 Perry and 706 Wayne. These properties are not currently owned by the City. The City will use the Request for Interest (RFI) process to determine the feasibility of development and possible acquisition of these properties [City of Peoria RFI].
As a property owner in the neighborhood, I feel it is my duty to provide an alternative solution for the reuse of these two properties that have been abandoned and neglected for a significant amount of time. The history of these properties plays a large role in the reason for such request and the future of these properties could play a large role in the evolution of this neighborhood.
The geographic area known as the “North Valley” of Peoria is comprised of many neighborhood associations. Currently, the Spalding Neighborhood Association, the Olde Towne North Neighborhood Association, the Detweiller Marina Neighborhood Association, and the Averyville Improvement Association make up the boundaries. Certainly for most residents of Peoria, and the surrounding areas, that may be a bit overwhelming as they don’t often categorize where X is on a map by the neighborhood association associated with it. Generally speaking, remember it due to a specific landmark or natural topographic boundaries. Most know it as the area just below the bluffs, by the river and near downtown… and oh yeah, there are some old homes and some crime problems there.
The North Valley has a long and rich history uniquely tied with the city itself. It was where the earliest settlers grew the city into what it is today. Over the course of 400 years there will be ups and downs of development and redevelopment efforts. I have made attempts to chronicle this in the past, and it is an area that I believe is more than ready to reap a new redevelopment strategy, which ironically, is deeply rooted in its traditional design and heritage.
To spill all of my real estate secrets, there is no reason that the North Valley shouldn’t rebound quicker and stronger than some of the other blighted areas around Peoria. To say that this down and out, and that there is no good left in it is an obvious err in judgement and one would have to be blind not to see all of the positive that is happening. There are existing businesses that have a strong base, new businesses that are drawing in new visitors to the area, homeowners/renters that have kept their properties well maintained, and people that are working hard to preserve the history of a land that seems to get left behind.
History of the Properties
The 3 story brick building located at 801 NE Perry Ave has been positioned on the corner of Perry and Wayne for well over a century. The home located at 803 NE Perry Ave., also known as the Ira Buck House, is a Chateauesque house that was built in 1899. Ira D. Buck was a prominent banker who served as the Vice President of the Illinois National Bank in Peoria. 706 Wayne currently serves as a greenspace buffering the housing units that sit directly behind the properties.
Both buildings are listed as being of “Primary Significance” in the 1983 submitted document to the National Register of Historic Places, which was approved making the Northside Historic District an active historic district.
While it may be a distinguished honor to be considered within the boundaries of a historic district, the ownership of the properties has allowed the deterioration of each and has let them become neglected to a point that it is a major obstacle for redevelopment due to cost overruns.
As of 2005, there was an effort led by the YWCA in to demolish the units and make way for an affordable housing complex (DO_40933). It was at this time the neighborhood association governing this area intervened and put a halt to the demolition. In 2006, the ownership changed hands to the Olde Towne North Historic District, which is a registered 501(c)3. Due to lack of a long term vision, no further redevelopment took place.
Without a firm plan in place, the North Valley as a whole, is missing a comprehensive plan and necessary consideration from the City to guide future developments. Unfortunately, these properties have sat in a state of disrepair for far too long. Without proper mothballing and stabilization efforts, it has jeopardized future efforts of redevelopment more difficult.
Recently, a plan prepared by the South Side Office Of Concern of whom owns property adjacent to the units has expressed interest in once again demolishing the properties to make room for a housing facility for the homeless and disabled [Peoria Journal Star 8/21/13].
It is due to the renewed interest of demolition and the immediate danger facing these historic structures and counterproductive property uses of the properties that a Statement Of Interest will be prepared to demonstrate the value of these structures as relative to the neighborhood, the positive impact to the residents, the strengthening of the neighborhood associations, and to serve as a precedent for future planning efforts.
Statement Of Interest (SOI)
Entity: Name and general description of the entity submitting the SOI.
Erik W. Reader – President, Reader Area Development, Inc.
Recommendation – It is my recommendation for future planning efforts that immediate action be taken to consolidate the many neighborhood organizations into a single alliance. This newly formed alliance would be a consolidation of the Olde Towne North, Detweiller Marina, and Averyville Neighborhood Associations. Comprised of neighborhood activists, homeowners, developers, business owners, not-for-profit organizations and volunteers, this will be a community collaboration.
Entity Contact Information: Name, mailing address, telephone number, facsimile number, and email address of the entity’s primary contact.Erik W. Reader, President (309) 620-4543 firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Description: Proposed project description, including preliminary cost estimates, schedules, public involvement, etc.; and any other information that would be useful in evaluating the proposal. The entity should also summarize any factors that would positively or negatively affect the entity’s, or other participants’ efforts to develop the proposed project.
While it may be easy on paper to consolidate the two properties into one, from a developer standpoint and one that would truly benefit the neighborhood, they would need to be handled separately but looked at in their entirety to determine how they relate to the block and neighborhood. If it was easy and obvious, the solution to the problem would have been remedied in years past. What makes this effort different is that it is the collaborative effort to bring like-minded organizations and parties together for the greater purpose of bringing this neighborhood forward.
The details of the project are as follows:
801 NE Perry Ave: Tax Identification Number 1804434014
Partially deconstruct the 3-story unit, salvaging any historical remnants from the interior for a future building materials re-sale operation. After clearing debris and materials from the building, work to stabilize the roof and access points such as windows and doors. Begin the phasing of renovations starting at the first floor and working up to the third based on market demand for newly renovated units.
The primary concern of this building is its sheer size. It will undoubtedly need repairs, upgrades, and improvements of $325,000, however, when scheduled over 4 years the project becomes much more manageable. It’s proximity to the new JUMP Simulation Center, OSF Campus, Caterpillar Headquarters, and downtown makes this property ideally suited for market-rate tenants and also opens up the possibility of a unique collaborative living space.
Since this building sits in an urban setting, creating density is important factor to consider. With it, the neighborhood gains more activity, without it, it becomes less attractive for future business development.
803 NE Perry Ave: Tax Identification Number 1804434015
Convert property into a boutique Bed & Breakfast. Restore historic features to their prominence while making energy upgrades, and updating modern amenities. Use downstairs as communal space and retain the bedrooms on the second story as guest rooms and business owner’s quarters.
Preliminary costs to redevelop property are estimated at $90,000. Creating a tourist attraction in an otherwise unlikely area could induce a heritage-based tourism that has been lacking in Peoria. Alternatively, if the Olde Towne North Historic District loses a prominent historical feature it reduces the likelihood of the area becoming the focus of on any tourism or historically based interest.
706 Wayne St: Tax Identification Number 1804434006
Continue to maintain parcel as greenspace.
Participant Roles: The proposed roles that the entity, the City and any other project participants might play in the development, ownership and operation of the proposed project.
Reader Area Development, Inc. will play many roles in the management of the proposed projects. It will coordinate many entities to fully maximize the resources that are now inactive or not being used to the fullest potential. Upon transfer of the property, the City will have limited involvement with the project outside of the standard permitting and inspection processes. Reader Area Development is not requesting any public financing at this time, but would need the removal of the demolition order and any liens in order to proceed.
Once the timeline has been completed to stabilize the properties, the ownership will be transferred into private ownership. The primary duty of this project is to return the properties to fully functioning taxable parcels that will benefit the community by the increase in Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) and stimulate a stagnate real estate market.
Public Interest: A brief description of how the project is in the public interest.
The public has long been in a reactionary state when it comes to proposed actions to their immediate surroundings, as they are usually not up-to-date on current planning and development affairs until reported by the local media. The opportunity presented allows for the activation of many groups, many of which have a vested stake in the area. In recent decades, citizen-engagement has only been used for preliminary planning, and not harnessed for the implementation of a project.
The properties of 801 & 803 NE Perry serve as a reminder of Peoria’s storied past. The buildings themselves contain a vast amount of architectural intrigue and would be difficult to replicate in today’s new construction market. While previous projects that have faced the doom of demolition, this project has the ability to alter the course of Peoria’s trajectory in a positive way.
Instead of continuing destructive behavior which tears the fragile fabric of the complex workings of neighborhoods, the project presented is to make the best use of all the tools provided in overcoming the obstacles that are now in the way. The project can serve as a catalyst to many new beginnings. It could serve as a deconstruction project, an architectural salvage project, a vocational training grounds for students learning on-the-job skills training, a technology innovation startup, a business, a residence, and several market-rate rental units.
Prior Experience: A brief description of the entity’s prior development experience related to constructing, financing, facilitating, or studying construction.
Reader Area Development, Inc. – Established in 2011 to help with rebuilding Peoria’s urban core. Current property owner of 603 Voris, a recently remodeled residence in the Olde Towne North Historic District.
Mr. Reader serves on the Board of Directors of the Pekin Main Street organization where has overseen TIF facade grants and interior loans, is a member of the City of Pekin Planning Commission, a past member of the City of Pekin Zoning Board of Appeals, and is currently working to open Impact HUB Peoria – a social impact business incubator and co-working space in the Blaine-Sumner school in Peoria’s south side.
Financial Capability: Verifiable information demonstrating that the entity is in sound financial condition and has the ability to secure the necessary financing to meet the project’s requirements now and in the future. Additionally, respondents to the RFI must submit a secured letter of credit or other similar financial instrument in the amount of $120,000. The letter of credit will be used to demonstrate the entity’s financial ability and will be held by the City until a formal RFP is released. Upon issuance and award of an RFP, the City will continue to hold the letter of credit until the awarded project is completed. If the project is abandoned or the time line is not observed, the City will call the letter of credit for the demolition of the existing structures at 801/803 Perry.
Due to the preliminary nature of this request, providing a Letter of Credit in the amount of $120,000 would be highly unreasonable and extraordinary at this stage. As this is the first step in the process of ascertaining interest, a financial statement will not be furnished at this time as it has yet to go to the proposal stage.
Reader Area Development, Inc. seeks to be fully transparent and forthcoming in its intent to improve the properties and surrounding neighborhood. It will work together with the City of Peoria upon acceptance of RFI. It is not, nor will it be the intention to disrupt or further stall future planning efforts as collaboration is of the utmost importance in these sensitive dealings. As such, it must be recognized that any efforts to undermine the neighborhood tax base and continue to jeopardize neighborhood residents with last-minute notifications that affect their reasons for occupying this section of Peoria must be regarded as detrimental to the future of the near north side and Peoria.
Of the many benefits to preserving a structure in a historic district is the ability to take advantage of federal and state tax credits. Current available incentives are listed below (source: Landmarks Illinois):
The Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a state income tax credit equal to 25% of a project’s qualified expenditures to owners of certified historic structures located within River Edge Redevelopment Zones (Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Rockford and soon Peoria) who undertake certified rehabilitations during the taxable year.
A 20% Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit is available for rehabilitating an income-producing building. This dollar-for-dollar Federal income tax credit equal to 20% of the construction costs may be used by the building owner or sold to a tax credit investor. The minimum investment is 100% of the building’s “adjusted basis”; that is, the purchase price minus the land cost and depreciation, plus prior improvements. The building must be a certified historic structure.
Preservation Heritage Fund Grants Landmarks Illinois The Preservation Heritage Fund provides monetary assistance to preserve or protect significant structures or sites in the state of Illinois. Eligible beneficiaries of Preservation Heritage Fund grants and/or loans are significant structures or sites in Illinois that are under threat of demolition, imminent deterioration, or are of such architectural importance that their preservation will benefit the public and Illinois community.
Tourism Attraction Grant Program Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs funds heritage tourism related historic preservation projects. Property must be open to the public on a regular basis (museum) at least 5 days a week. You must, however, show that the project will result in visitors staying overnight in hotels. Projects funded on a matching basis.
Participation of Other Entities: A brief description of any steps the entity has taken to seek interest from other entities in participating in developing the proposed project.
Provided the short amount of time since the release of the request, multiple parties have come together to collaborate on this rare and unique opportunity. Many residents in the surrounding area have been contacted and actively engaged. Developers, architects, and contractors have been contacted, and have toured the properties for their initial assessments, however, no bids have been obtained due to the state of ownership regarding the property.
There has long been an admiration of the properties and recognition from the community that these buildings are indeed worth saving, however, prior attempts have fallen short due to lack of preparation and planning for the future of the neighborhood.
Other Information: A brief description of any other information that would be useful in evaluating the SOI.
Please see the idea board attached.
801/803 NE Perry Idea Board
Tuscon Pirate Mansion a collaborative working space and home for innovators and entrepreneurs.
Kansas City Startup Village launched by venture capitalist Brad Feld, he invites entrepreneurs with innovative startups that need the speed and power of Google Fiber to apply to live rent-free in his house.
Hotel San Jose boutique hotel in Austin
Eliza Thompson House a historic boutique hotel in Savannah
Freehand Miami boutique hostel.
Atlanta growing a startup culture from within.
Rebuilding Exchange promoting reuse through our retail warehouse, by promoting sustainable deconstruction practices, by providing education and job training programs, and by creating innovative models for sustainable reuse.
Urban Collaborative Spaces for those with disabilities.
The Sandbox House a creative environment for residents to pursue their passions while also living in a more meaningful, sustainable way.