Category: News

Edwardsville Touts Low Unemployment Rate, Announces Nearly $300 million in Construction Projects Breaking Ground in 2018

EDWARDSVILLE, IL – The City of Edwardsville, IL is celebrating a sizable reduction in its local unemployment rate as it sees nearly $300 million in new construction breaking ground within the next few months.

Mayor Hal Patton said that according to statistics from the Illinois Dept. of Employment Security, the city’s unemployment rate now stands at 3.2 percent as of January 2018, a decrease of 120 basis points compared year over year with January 2017. Combined with an array of development projects already occurring as well as more in the pipeline, Patton says this news bodes well for the future of the city’s employment opportunities and its continuing economic strength.

“Edwardsville’s continued success is attributable to our ability to attract investors and job creators,” said Patton. “Construction activity has created thousands of construction jobs here with the potential for permanent jobs for our residents as well as for those beyond our immediate area who are seeking steady employment.”

Arguably the biggest construction job preparing to break ground within days are World Wide Technology’s twin buildings in Gateway Commerce Center, each spanning a million square feet. The buildings will enable World Wide Technology to increase its Edwardsville workforce from 1,200 to 1,700 and invest more than $100 million over the 10-year term of the lease.

Multifamily development in Edwardsville continues, with Cleveland-based Richland Residential building a $30 million, nine-building community close to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on New Poag Road.

Gori Properties LLC will pump $16 million into the local economy by building a five-story office headquarters on the site of the former public safety facility on North Main Street. The ground floor is expected to include 10,000 square feet of leasable retail space.

Edwardsville-based Fireside Financial is breaking ground on two six-story, mixed-use structures along Illinois Route 157. The $28 million development, which will break ground in mid-2018, totals 18,190 square feet of commercial retail space plus 152 residential units, a fitness center and dedicated parking.

“It’s gratifying to see Edwardsville attracting a substantial amount of investment not only from existing businesses here, but also from outside developers and Fortune 100 companies such as World Wide Technology,” Patton said. “The new growth we’re attracting is providing additional revenue to keep our city operating efficiently, and for us to expand and upgrade critical infrastructure and services to meet the needs of our residents and workforce far into the future.”

Additional new construction breaking ground in 2018 includes:

  • 22,000 square feet of retail space on Plum Street
  • 8,000 square feet of retail space at 1501 Weber Drive including Kyoto Steakhouse of Japan
  • 5,000 square feet of office space at 201 South Main Street


Renovation of existing structures taking place in 2018 includes:


  • $2 million facelift of Montclaire Shopping Center
  • $2 million renovation of Target



Contegra Construction Co. Building Student Housing Complex to Serve Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Reprint from Construction Forum St. Louis

The newest off-campus student housing development to serve Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (SIUE) is emerging from the ground. General contractor Contegra Construction Co. broke ground on the student housing project called The Reserve in November 2017. The completion is slated for the summer of 2019. The 486-bed housing complex is being developed by Cleveland-based Richland Residential and will be comprised of nine buildings hosting two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bedroom units.

Located on a 15-acre site, The Reserve will provide additional housing options to meet growing demands for off-campus living in close proximity to SIUE. It is located at the New Poag Road entry to the campus.

The wood frame construction will be clad with brick and siding. Apartment units will feature full kitchens, washers and dryers and ample living spaces.

The development will feature a clubhouse with a number of amenities, including a workout room, study area, lounge/gaming room and leasing offices. Adjacent to the club house will be a pool and separate bath house

Based in Edwardsville, Ill., Contegra is one of the St. Louis area’s largest general contractors and serves a national customer base that includes industrial, institutional, municipal, multi-family, office and retail projects. Its capabilities include building developer- and owner-driven projects and site development.

World Wide Technology to expand in Edwardsville, add up to 500 jobs

From the St. Louis Business Journal:

Jim Kavanaugh

Mar 19, 2018, 7:28am CDT

World Wide Technology is planning an expansion of its Metro East industrial facilities that could bring as many as 500 new jobs to Edwardsville.

Maryland Heights-based World Wide Technology, which is one of the region’s largest private companies, currently occupies 1.6 million square feet of industrial space in two buildings in Edwardsville. The company’s lease on those facilities expires in 2020, and upon the lease’s expiration, the company plans to move into two new 1-million-square-foot buildings to be developed by TriStar.

TriStar will break ground on the new buildings in the Gateway Commerce Center, just a few miles from World Wide Technology’s current facilities, in the coming weeks.

With the move, World Wide Technology plans to increase its number of employees at the facilities from the current 1,200 to up to 1,700 over the next five years. The new jobs will focus on technical engineering and warehouse logistics.

“This investment will further expand our capacity and ability to serve our customers domestically and around the world,” CEO Jim Kavanaugh said in a statement.

The company plans to begin the first phase of moving into the new facilities in May 2019 and wrap up the move by mid-2020.

World Wide Technology reported $10.4 billion in revenue last year and employs 4,500 people, including 2,100 locally.

Forecast Breakfast: Economic outlook remains bright in Edwardsville

Kristen and Matt Pfund accepted the 2017 Business of the Year Award for their business Pfund Construction at Edwardsville’s recent Business Forecast Breakfast

Published 9:41 am, Thursday, February 8, 2018

EDWARDSVILLE – Pfund Construction was awarded the 2017 Business of the Year Award at Tuesday’s 2018 Business Forecast Breakfast.

Organized by Economic/Community Development Director Walt Williams, the event took place at the Leclaire Room at Lewis and Clark’s N.O. Nelson Campus. A total of 270 local business owners, citizens and city staff were present at the event.

Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton took to the podium and said the award recipients have played a significant role in the community thus far.

“To be considered for the Business of the Year Award, a business must set standards for excellence and innovation with its business practices and community involvement. Our award recipient…truly exemplifies the meaning of Edwardsville’s downtown and its community as a place where one can live, learn, work and play,” Patton said.

Pfund Construction, owned and operated by Matt and Kristen Pfund, took on projects such as the renovation of the Metcalf Building, turning it into six loft apartments and four retail spaces and renovating the former Gaiser Building with a second floor apartment, among other projects.

Kristen serves on the board of directors for the Edwardsville Community Foundation, takes part in the Main Street Community Center and is a member of the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Junior Service Club. Matt is a member of TheBANK of Edwardsville’s Board of Directors, is on the board of the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Habitat for Humanity, is a member of the SIUE Construction Advisory Board and is on the Madison County Plan Commission.

Patton said the company has set a trend in downtown living and has played a part of modernizing the city of Edwardsville.

“Thank you for taking the risks and being trendsetters and contributing to downtown Edwardsville’s success as a compelling urban center in southwest Illinois,” Patton said.

Dr. Tim Sullivan, a professor in the Department of Economics and Finance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, also took to the podium to predict 2018’s economic forecast.

Although last year’s forecast was uncertain, Sullivan said this year’s forecast is fairly optimistic.

“Heading into 2017, there was a lot of understandable concern,” Sullivan said. “(This year) I have good news and bad news. As of now, there’s nothing that I see in the fundamentals in the economy that indicate a recession is near.”

Sullivan’s model predicts a 2.5 percent of economic growth for the U.S.’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – a measure of the nation’s total economic activity. He also predicts a 1.7 percent growth for the state of Illinois in 2018 and a 1.6 percent growth for Madison County. The 2018 forecast averages are 1.8 percent for the U.S. GDP, 0.6 percent for Illinois and 0.8 percent for Madison County.

Although Sullivan’s prediction is slightly higher than the averages, he said the downside to his prediction is that its outreach can’t speak for the later months of the year – October, November, December.

“I see nothing in the data that would indicate any type of downturn during the first three quarters of this year,” Sullivan said. “Probably well into the fall, then December, November, the crystal ball just doesn’t work that far.”

NAI DESCO Principal Peter Sheahan was the last featured speaker who took to the podium, and spoke of current changes regarding local retailers.

With some stores closing, local malls closing are looking for new tenants, Sheahan said online shopping greatly impacted the world of retail both last year and this year.

“Retail has changed dramatically by online shopping,” Sheahan said. “This online shopping has grown in significant rates. A 14 percent increase from 2017 – it went up. So what we’ve seen is a change and how that’s affected retail is we’ve seen a bunch of stores closing.”

Stores like Sears, Gander Mountain, Macy’s, Gordmans, Kmart, etc., he said.

Sheahan said Edwardsville does have several attributes that appeal to retailers, however, it also has its challenges.

“When you have a combination of expensive ground and expensive construction costs, it’s a challenge to get retailers to come here,” he said.

However, Sheahan said despite the costs, Edwardsville has continued to be one of the most stable markets in the St. Louis region.

With low crime rates, residential and job growths, the SIUE campus, highway access, highly-rated schools, and progressive government, Sheahan said he anticipates retail growth to continue in the Edwardsville area as the year progresses.

The forecast breakfast was sponsored by the BarberMurphy Group, the City of Edwardsville, Contegra Construction and Holland Construction Services.

For more information about local businesses or economic development, contact Walt Williams at 618-692-7533 or visit the city’s website at

Sisters-in-law to open Clean Eatz, franchise of former Edwardsville couple

Sara Sanderson in front of Clean Eatz’ menu board. The franchise healthy-eating restaurant is set to open this month  


EDWARDSVILLE — A new clean eating option is set to open soon.

Clean Eatz, at 6724 Old Troy Road in Edwardsville, is set to open this month.

“I want everything to be perfect. I want everything to be amazing,” said co-owner Sara Sanderson.

She, along with her sister-in-law and co-owner, Cindy Sanderson, is preparing for the opening.

Former Edwardsville residents Don and Evonne Varady started the franchise restaurant. The couple previously owned and operated the Lo-Cal Café for several years in Edwardsville but when they moved to the East Coast, they started Clean Eatz. The Edwardsville location will be the franchise’s 50th.

“We’ve brought it back full circle,” Sara Sanderson said. “I grew up with Don in Holiday Shores. I watched Don and Evonne grow the brand. It’s been truly impressive. I reached out to Don about two years ago about opening a restaurant here.”

Sanderson said the idea of opening the restaurant came after she decided to live a healthier lifestyle. She had a career in sales for 12 years, but worked in restaurants while attending Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

So, the Sanderson women decided to open the restaurant.

“We’re making it a family business. Cindy is keeping her full-time job for now, but she’ll be here nights and weekends,” Sanderson explained.

The sisters-in-law visited six other Clean Eatz’ locations, including the franchise’s first, in Wilmington, North Carolina, before starting work on the Edwardsville location.

Sara Sanderson said that people familiar with the Lo-Cal Café should like Clean Eatz.

“It’s about clean eating with natural fruits, vegetables and proteins, along with healthy fats and whole grains,” she said. “We’re backing away from refined grains, sugar, sodium and unhealthy fats.”

The restaurant will offer dine-in and carry-out options. Dine-in customers will order at the counter and servers will bring the food out to their table.

“Almost all our entrees come with a side and drink,” Sanderson said.

Drinks will include fruited water, unsweetened tea, and non-aspartame Crystal Light.

Clean Eatz also will offer grab-and-go meals.

“These are frozen, ready–made meals,” Sanderson explained. “We’ll also have family meals with four servings for $17.99.”

One thing that makes Clean Eatz different from other restaurants will be the weekly meal plans offered by the restaurant.

Customers will receive an email message with the choices for the week ahead on Thursday. They can sign up for meals by Sunday night, and pick them up on Monday. There is discounted pricing for multiple meals, and customized meals will be available.

“Each meal feeds one person. You can sign up for as many as you want,” Sanderson said. “I think it’s a service that people are looking for.”

Sanderson said the restaurant is for those who want to “lose, gain or maintain weight.” They also will offer vegan and glucose-free options.

“You can tell us what you want to do and how you want to eat,” she said. “For example, if you’re doing Whole 30 or a paleo plan, or some other plan, we can help you.”

The menu has bison and turkey burgers. There also will be salmon, shrimp and shredded beef. Each items’ calorie content is listed on the menu board and further nutrition information is available.

The restaurant will seat 46 for inside dining and employ up to 12 people.

“It’s hard to guess if dine-in or carry-out will do better,” Sanderson said.

She is eager to open, she noted.

“We’ve gotten a lot of love on social media and also by people just stopping by to see what we’re doing.”