Business and Economy

Construction Progress On One Uptown

Jan 20, 2017
Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Construction of One Uptown on the circle in Uptown Normal is progressing with workers assembling the steel skeleton. A town official said construction is on schedule. 

The five story building will include Town of Normal offices on the second floor, 21 apartments, and a basement parking garage. A first floor restaurant has yet to be determined. 

The $14 million building could be complete as early as October of 2017. 

 

John Yates poses niside Arcadia
Ryan Denham

Most entrepreneurs use their passion to try and make a buck. John Yates is only looking for your quarters.

Yates is the creator of the Arcadia Playable Arcade Museum in McLean, less than 20 miles southwest of Bloomington-Normal. Yates has turned his massive collection of vintage arcade games and pinball machines into a destination for nostalgic visitors.

LENDINGMEMO.COM / FLICKR VIA CREATIVE COMMONS

The State Department of Employment Security says unemployment rates remained higher than the national rate in November. But, Department Director Jeff Mays noted metro areas outside of Chicago have experienced more job growth recently.

Bloomington-Normal saw gains in financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government. Peoria's biggest growth came in professional and business services. 

Staff / WGLT

Millenials are changing the definition of "starter homes" in the Twin Cities. That's according to Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors President Ed Neaves. 

Neaves said the traditional "first home" market sits at around $90,000 to $130,000. He said a large percentage of millenials are spending between $100,000 to $280,000 on their first home. 

Staff / WGLT

The CEO of Rivian Automotive calls the community surrounding the Mitsubishi Plant "something special." 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

There has been a surge of small business optimism coming out of the presidential election. That's according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist J.D. Foster.

Foster said small businesses have been reluctant to invest and hire because of policies coming from the Obama administration. Foster said businesses feel the federal government won't be such an oppressive force under President Elect Donald Trump. 

Emma Shores / WGLT

A candidate for Bloomington mayor wants to sell the U.S. Cellular Coliseum and is willing to sell it for less than appraised value to "get out from under the yearly subsidy."  Robert Fike is a 58-year-old retired firefighter. He says the annual subsidy amounts to $900,000.  

Rivian Automotive.

State and Bloomington-Normal Economic Development officials have found a probable buyer for the former Mitsubishi Auto plant.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Circumstances on the existing plot of land targeted for a Portillo's requires public participation to draw the restaurant that is one of "the most talked about things in the last 3 or 4 months in the community," according to the Town of Normal Mayor.

Staff / WGLT

Interest in converting dilapidated downtown Bloomington buildings into a potential hotel and conference center could be renewed now that the city has bolstered the area as a Tax Increment Financing district. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

A new era of public transportation is driving into the Twin Cities. Connect Transit is launching a completely redesigned bus system with new routes, increased bus frequency, and for the first time ever, Sunday service. Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson said the new system is a "game changer" for Bloomington-Normal.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Workers are feverishly putting the final touches on the thirty five million dollar Center for Integrated Wellness just north of the airport in Bloomington.

The Center combines several services and business entities in one place, a fitness center managed by Advocate BroMenn, METHOD Sports Performance, and McLean County Orthopedics. Such facilities are becoming a trend across the U.S. 

WGLT

The parent company of the Bloomington Pantagraph Newspaper says it has made substantial inroads in paying off its debt.

In the latest quarterly financial reports, Lee Enterprises says it continues to use all its available cash to reduce debt, more than sixteen million dollars in the last quarter and eighty six million dollars in the first three quarters of the year. Lee still owes more than 640 million dollars.

Staff / WGLT

Normal's mayor still likes the chances of improvements to Main Street despite the federal government's rejection of a grant proposal to improve the corridor.

Ralph Weisheit

The new executive director of the Downtown Bloomington coliseum expects a multi-million dollar economic impact on the community from the arena and says an adjacent hotel and conference center would only help.

Ralph Timan

This weekend marks a year since Mitsubishi Motors told the community and its workers the auto plant in Normal would close.

Many workers have had tremendous changes in that year. Among them Ralph Timan and his wife Mitzi.

Creative Commons

The first anniversary of the announcement of the closure of the Mitsubishi Auto plant in Normal is this weekend.

GLT is revisiting the several former workers we've followed since then.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The Illinois Department of Commerce's Office of Tourism is celebrating artisans, products and experiences unique to the state with the new Illinois Made program. Illinois Office of Tourism Director Cory Jobe said  Illinois Made is an opportunity to feature the entrepreneurial spirit that is happening in the state. Jobe said Illinois is home to a thriving culture of artisans and craftspeople, making products that are in high demand among people looking for authentic, out of the ordinary experiences.  

Jeff Giebelhausen/Farnsworth Group

City officials could get their first detailed peek into plans for a downtown hotel during a meeting next week. Bloomington alderman Karen Schmidt, whose ward serves downtown, said during Sound Ideas, the project could prove to be a major impetus in reviving the central business district.

State Farm CEO Becomes Chairman of the Board

Jun 13, 2016
Ralph Weisheit

State Farm CEO Michael Tipsord has been chosen to succeed former CEO Edward Rust, Jr. as the Chairman of the Board for the Bloomington-based insurance giant.

Creative Commons

How Americans view agriculture is not necessarily how the rest of the world sees farming practices. A British agriculture journalist recently stopped by the GLT studios during her trip across the U.S. as part of a fellowship studying U.S. farming practices and perceptions.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Exelon Corp. says it will shut two Illinois nuclear plants after the Illinois Legislature declined to act on its request for financial support. The company said Thursday it will close the Clinton Power Station in Clinton on June 1, 2017, and the Quad Cities Generating Station in Cordova on June 1, 2018.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The last 170 Mitsubishi workers at the plant in Normal are now without jobs as the final day for the plant ended in shutdown. Plant head Jerry Berwanger said no workforce was finer.

WGLT

Many businesses are figuring out how much new federal rules on overtime pay will cost them starting in December. The effect on Illinois State University could be in the two million dollar range.

Alan Ferguson / Creative Commons

Home sales in Bloomington Normal rose 11 percent in April compared to the same month last year. The Association of Realtors said year to date sales are up 5.6 percent. Indicators remain mixed, though.

Michael Allen Smith / Creative Commons

Count the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council among the interest groups on board a proposed sales tax sharing agreement in the twin cities.

Caterpillar Execs Visit Cuba

May 11, 2016
Roger W. / Creative Commons

Leaders from Caterpillar are traveling to Cuba this week as the company tries to grow business opportunities in the island nation. The Peoria-based company announced Wednesday representatives from machinery dealer RIMCO are joining CEO Doug Oberhelman and Cat executives.

Ralph Weisheit

The head of the company that just took the Mitsubishi plant in Normal off the automaker's hands says they will start liquidating the equipment in two or three months if they do not find a buyer for the plant.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The head of the Mitsubishi Auto plant in Normal said this has been his most difficult year of more than four decades in the auto industry. The company laid off most of its workforce last year and the final hundred plus workers at the facility will lose their jobs at the end of the month.

Ralph Weisheit

The Mayor of Normal sees the sale of the Mitsubishi plant to a liquidator as a positive. He also said the purchase would not interfere with overseas conversations to sell the plant.

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