Meanwhile, the city is working with Millennium Development LLC, the company behind the destination development, and the state on the establishment of the STAR Bond district, developer Bruce Holland said.
"It's part of the process," Holland said. "We're working with the city and the Department of Revenue to determine the actual boundaries and demographics of what goes in the district. Once that is done, we'll be closer to being able to say who (what businesses) we are working with for the actual development."
Mayor Butler told the paper that developers have already optioned nearly 400 acres and are still working on two or three other land owners. Based on what I'm hearing in the real estate industry, it looks like the district will stretch from the edge of Rent One Park east across the interstate almost to, if not right on, Route 37 north of the cemeteries.
Butler also hinted at two or three other businesses not related to Holland's development who had put their plans on hold due to the recession are back showing renewed interest in the city.
He provided no hints, but past businesses interested included two new hotels (one a new Holiday Inn Express for the lot next to MidCountry Bank) and a major chain restaurant, which was all but named as a certain Italian eatery which has danced around with the city since the Illinois Centre Mall underwent construction 20 years ago.
I don't know for sure what Butler was referencing, it could be these, or it could be some of the other larger businesses and industries looking at the city prior to the economic downturn. Either way it's a winner for the region.
In order to establish the district for which public hearings will be held, the developers have to come up with a master plan that includes at least one destination user (a large specialty retailer) and one entertainment user (theme park or other entertainment complex).
Once the city approves the district, it then goes to the Illinois Department of Revenue for approval.
The Southern's article is already online and should be in tomorrow's print edition.