Despite slow economy, several projects under way in Beloit

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Work continues on the new Clark Gas Station at 903 Broad St. The gas station is being built next to the old facility and will update its store with new gas pumps and convenience store.

About 18 construction projects currently are under way in the city of Beloit, which officials say is more than normal post-recession.

The projects are commercial, industrial and institutional, and total more than $133 million in renovations and construction. Andrew Janke, executive director of the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation, said the work is positive even while the city and surrounding communities are recovering from slow economic activity.

“It definitely represents more than average for commercial activity in the city,” he said.

One of the more recent projects is the rehabbing of the old Freeman Parkway Apartments at 2101 Freeman Parkway. Owner Dave Hoffman said he will end up spending more than $2 million to rehab the apartments that were condemned by the city in December 2009.

Hoffman said three of the 10 apartment buildings will be available to rent by November, and another three will be ready this winter.

Eight of the 18 projects include renovations to Beloit schools as part of the School District of Beloit’s $70 million referendum approved by voters last year. The project is renovating nearly all the buildings in the Beloit School District, and calls for building a new intermediate school.

In addition to the 18 projects, three new construction projects are expected to break ground this fall. They include the new Casey’s General Store, 2350 Cranston Road. The 4,200-square-foot building is one of the new and larger designs Casey’s has started to use.

The company recently closed on the land a couple weeks ago. Casey’s CEO Bill Walljasper said the project has been released to construction, and anticipates building will happen shortly.

“Right now we are looking at a March open date,” he said. “The weather obviously plays a factor, but that is what we are going for right now.”

The Cherry Tree Assisted Living Facility, 2020 Cranston Road, has been delayed several times over changes in plans that require state approval. The project will build two facilities that will cater towards patients with mild to moderate dementia.

Drew Pennington, director of Planning and Building Services, said plans have been submitted to the city and are being reviewed now.

Qdoba announced in July that the company plans to build a 5,700 square-foot building that will house the restaurant and other retail space. The location, 2777 Milwaukee Road, was previously looked at by Ohio-based Bob Evans. However, in April the company told the city it wouldn’t build a restaurant.

The Beloit City Council approved a conditional use permit in August that allowed Qdoba to have outdoor seating, a drive-through window and alcohol sales.

Work has restarted on the interior of the old KMart building. Piggly Wiggly announced last fall the company wanted to build a grocery store in part of the building, and use the rest for other retail space.

The other projects include the $7.39 million Phoenix Building renovation at 430 E. Grand Ave.; an addition to the warehouse at Woodman’s, 1670 Lee Lane; a new Associated Bank building at 602 Henry Ave.; First National Bank addition at 413 E. Grand Ave.; U.S. Cellular retail building at 2933 Milwaukee Road; and the Ironworks building rehabbing at 701 Third St.

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