Let Them Know It’s Appreciated

Another great improvement in the plans for downtown Beloit.

Readers who have been around long enough remember the parking deck over the Rock River and the building at 80-100 East Grand Avenue that protrudes out over the water.

It’s a cinch environmental authorities no longer would allow such a structure and all the attending risks hanging out over the water. The deck has been gone for several years. The building remains, in a vacant state, with a future that includes mandatory demolition in about 20 years. Not the kind of place or conditions into which any company would want to sink cash.

Enter the Hendricks organization, which has contributed so much to the revival of Beloit’s downtown. Through its East Grand Development arm, the company has announced plans to build a 48,000 square foot building at the site. The City of Beloit will coordinate removing the current eyesore. The plan hinges on obtaining government grants to help with financing, with a local match to be provided by the developer.

Nothing is certain until all hurdles are cleared, but with the need to remove the structure soon anyway the likelihood of a collaborative solution between the developer, the city and state seems probable.

The Hendricks organization says plans at the site include such possibilities as a restaurant, commercial spaces, office units and residential options.

By the way, directly across the river is the new Blue Collar Coffee, another Hendricks development that is a strong improvement at the waterfront. The coffee’s good, too. Give it a try.

The City of Beloit will take charge of public spaces, including the Riverwalk and pedestrian improvements. When completed, the fit with the rest of downtown Beloit’s improvements will be attractive and accessible.

Those same readers who remember the parking deck and the now-vacant building are best aware of the transformative effects in recent years for the city’s commercial core. The turnaround is nothing short of astonishing. There was a time not all that long ago when downtown Beloit was a forlorn, worn-out,, boarded-up embarrassment. Today, it’s a shining jewel that attracts visitors from all across the region.

The Hendricks organization did not do that alone. Success has many authors, and so it is with this revival. Still, Diane Hendricks and her team are responsible for many of the key investments. When you see these good folks around, let them know it’s appreciated.