The newly proposed $1.5 billion development for Glen Carbon could be a big boost to not only the future area economy, but also offer some much-needed construction and permanent jobs.
The University Town Center development would include a combination of entertainment and retail development. Bruce B. Holland, president of Holland Construction Service, and a developer, said the project would attract entertainment and retail customers from all over the St. Louis region.
The development is pinpointed on a 900-acre tract bounded by Interstate 270 on the north, Illinois Route 157 on the east, Illinois Route 162 on the south and Interstate 255 on the west. The proposed development is only about 2 miles south of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. In terms of a location, it seems to be in a perfect spot.
Will the development happen is one question many will ask. One of the keys will be the use of STAR bonds. STAR bonds were used in a comparable Village West project in Kansas City, Kan. STAR is short for Sales Tax And Revenue bonds. State Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville is the chief Senate sponsor of the Illinois STAR Bonds Act and he expects it to pass the Senate floor in a few weeks and move to the house. Gov. Pat Quinn also seems behind the measure, so the legislation could pass quickly.
The project would also require approval from the village of Glen Carbon. I am surprised at how the Wal-Mart expansion was frowned upon from some in the Glen Carbon community and hope that this influx of business is received with open arms. This area is removed from housing developments in Glen Carbon and there is easy access to interstates, which will help with congestion.
Some doubt this project, whether or not it will happen, but it seems to have some strong support. A venue along the lines of something similar to the historic Mississippi River Festival on the SIUE would be able to attract big-name rock and folk groups, so maybe that is also a possibility for the project.
I am curious on the thoughts from area residents about this development. Do you think it will happen and what would it mean to the region?