Work Begins on Wilson Lofts in Clinton
Local leaders hope the re-development of a vacant former department store will help boost downtown Clinton.
Last week, the Quad Cities-based Economic Growth Corporation held a "groundbreaking" for the Wilson Lofts.
The former department store and office building will be converted into 33 apartments, according to Andy Sokolovich, Vice President of the Clinton Regional Development Corporation.
"So our downtown continues to expand and grow, however we have a few vacant buildings and putting some bodies in those apartments, and creating a customer base, those that have some residual income are going to be able to go and shop and really insure the downtown continues to flourish."
The ground floor will be turned into two business incubators - one for retail, and one for a culinary kitchen incubator.
"You're an aspiring cook, chef, or baker - you often need a commercial kitchen to do it legally. So they're going to provide that space so people can actually go in there, cook and bake, then serve their food to the public."
Sokolovich says it took seven years to find 13.9 million dollars for the Wilson Lofts, a combination of state and federal tax credits, state and local grants, tax increment financing, plus loans from local banks.
JC Penney occupied the first floor from 1914 until 1999, with offices on the upper floors, but it's been mostly vacant since then.
The renovation is now expected to be finished by the end of next year (2022).