As Peoria approached the new millennium, very little development and activity existed on the Riverfront. Over a decade later entrepreneur's such as Pat Sullivan have worked tirelessly to bring business, residential space, and activity to the Peoria Warehouse District. Pat's Warehouse District mission is an effort to make Peoria a more attractive, safe, and happening place to live in and to visit. For our most recent Learning Trip, OLLI had the opportunity to tour the Warehouse District with Pat Sullivan himself to see how the downtown space is being utilized, and to discuss future construction and development plans.
OLLI members started out the afternoon with lunch at Kellehers. At the conclusion of the meal, Pat joined the OLLI group to give a history on how the Warehouse District came to fruition. Pat also provided a history of the building in which Kellehers sits in today. It is rumored that Water Street once housed Al Capone's whiskey and gambling devices.
Towards the end of the tour, OLLI members were even welcomed into Pat's gorgeous and spacious apartment. It was evident as soon as we walked into Pat's apartment that Pat truly values his family. Pictures of his children and grandchildren lined the hallway as you entered his living portion of the building. Pat is also a collector of antiques which seemed to be the centerpiece of decoration for each room. In 2000, Pat and his wife were one of the few Peoria residents that lived downtown and they still happily live in this space.
The Warehouse District on the riverfront is now home to number of businesses, restaurants, apartments, and condos. The arts scene is even beginning to flourish downtown with the emergence of the Contemporary Arts Center and Prairie Center for the Arts, and after our most recent Learning Trip with Pat Sullivan, development downtown is only getting started. A new brewery is being developed next to Kellehers, and Pat predicts that hundreds of new residents will call downtown Peoria home in the next few years. In addition, the owners of Salt, Cracked Pepper, and Sugar will be opening up a new restaurant in the Warehouse district called Thyme.
OLLI would like to thank Pat for welcoming us into your home. We look forward to our next visit.