Construction projects boosting local economy

By Gus Bode

Several stores set to open early spring

Several construction projects aimed at boosting the city’s economy are nearing completion, and city officials say plans for more developments are under way.

A Kohl’s Department Store, Save-A-Lot grocery store, First Southern Bank and strip shopping center will all soon be open to the public.


Carbondale City Manager Jeff Doherty said the new developments would stimulate the economy by increasing jobs and revenue in the area.

Kohl’s Department Store, located at 625 N. Giant City Road, is slated to open in early April.

Doherty said the $3.9 million, 90,000 square-foot facility fits in well with the city’s focus on retail and its goals to make Carbondale a central retail center. He said more businesses would be locating near the University Mall and Giant City Road areas in the future.

On the other side of town, construction on the Save-A-Lot grocery store continues.

There is no date set yet for the opening of the grocery store, located at 301 E. Walnut St., but Doherty said it is much needed as there is no other grocery store in central Carbondale and that its close vicinity to public and student housing will allow patrons easy access.

Save-A-Lot and First Southern Bank are being built in the city’s tax increment financing or TIFF district.

A TIFF district is designed to redevelop older and often unused areas of land.


Under the program, developers are partially reimbursed for expenses such as property acquisition and demolition.

Once an area has been redeveloped, the property tax assessment increases, but the amount of taxes paid on the property remains the same. Revenue increases from the tax difference are then set aside in a TIFF fund, which is used for public improvement.

The city’s TIFF district consists of 26 acres of land between the railroad tracks and South Logan Street and was approved in February 2004. So far the city has invested $6 million into the TIFF district.

The First Southern Bank, which will be located at 301 E. Main St., is still under construction and will open later this spring.

Also nearing completion is a 10,000 square-foot strip shopping center at the corner of East Grand and South Wall streets.

Haresh Thakkar, a professional engineer for EMC Construction, said the

$600, 000 facility will house six units, which are available for leasing.

Thakkar said construction on the site began more than six weeks ago and will most likely be completed in the next month, depending on the weather.

Jim Sinnott, the owner of the building, said he has yet to rent out any of the units. However, Thakkar said a video store is scheduled to move into the new shopping center.

Other plans for construction include an apartment complex at East Grand Street and Lewis Lane, a Holiday Inn at 2300 Reed Station Parkway and a church at East Grand and Giant City Road.

Carbondale Economic Development Manager Jeremy Hayes said the Southern Illinoisan has also submitted a proposal for a $5.5 million expansion and renovation of its current facility at 710 N. Illinois Ave.

Hayes said he is unsure if the city has approved building permits for the project.

Kohl’s and the Southern Illinoisan are located in the city’s enterprise zone, another incentive for businesses to develop land.

Businesses in enterprise zones receive 100 percent property tax abatements for the first five years and 50 percent tax abatements for the next five years.

Doherty said the city is also making plans for two additional businesses to locate in Carbondale but said it is too early to release the names of those businesses.

“Economic development is one of our top priorities, and we work on it every day,” Doherty said. “We work to strengthen what we have and attract new businesses to add to what we have.

“It provides jobs. It provides attractions for people to come to Carbondale to shop, and once they shop, they do other things and stimulate the overall economy in the community.”

Reporter Ashley Richardson can be reached at [email protected]