Commercial center slated for busy Perryville intersection

Sunday, February 15, 2004

By Jim Obert

Business Today

PERRYVILLE -- Near an intersection where 14,000 vehicles pass through daily, a commercial center is under construction and ground will soon be broken for a Save-A-Lot grocery store.

Crossroads Village, which will have up to 17 businesses, is being built near Highway 51 Bypass and St. Joseph Street, one mile east of Interstate 55. It will have more than 27,000 square feet of retail and office space for lease. Charles Brown, owner of Brown Ventures Inc., is handling the leasing for Crossroads Village, which is being developed by Perryville Investments LLC.

The commercial center and grocery store will be located on 9 acres in Progress Center, a development where a Sears store, Century 21 real estate agency and several other businesses are located. Progress Center and a residential area called Sycamore Hills cover about 44 acres that Brown bought from Saint Mary's of the Barrens Seminary in 1999.

Crossroads Village is scheduled to open in May. Save-A-Lot should open by late summer.

"We have been working on this project for a long time, probably about a year," said Brown, referring to Crossroads Village. "We're talking to a variety of businesses like restaurants, hardware stores, clothing stores. There'll be an anchor store that might be a Walgreen or something like that."

Brown said current plans call for building the commercial center in three phases with lease sizes ranging from 1,080 square feet to almost 7,000 square feet. The first phase would have nine units for lease; the second phase would be the anchor store; and the third phase would be seven units.

"If the leasing goes well it won't be built in three stages, but all at once," said Brown. "This is the busiest intersection in Perryville. It's a tremendous location near I-55 and north of the city center. We get a lot of traffic from Illinois that crosses the bridge at Chester, and a lot of that traffic is why 14,000 vehicles go through that intersection every day."

Brown said 11,000 people live within five miles of the development, and 80,000 people live within 30 miles.

"This is big-time news for Perryville," said Brown. "It's probably the biggest thing to happen since Wal-Mart built a supercenter here about five years ago."

Brown is involved in another business venture in that area. He is renovating a 7,000-square-foot building that came with the land he bought from Saint Mary's of the Barrens. Located along Sycamore Road, the building was used by the seminary as a repair shop for its farming operation. Brown is turning it into a daycare center called Little Wonders Learning Center.

"It's licensed for 100 kids and I hope to have it opened by early March," Brown said. "People are already signing up. One lady who is pregnant with twins has signed up."

The daycare will be sectioned according to age. Children 6 months to 2 years old will be in one area; children between 2 and 3 years old will be in another area; and kids 3 to 5 years old will be in another part of the brick building.

Brown said the facility will be completely modern. There will be video cameras that parents can access via the Internet any time of the day.

"We think mothers and fathers are going to like the cameras," said Brown, adding that Michelle Schumer will be the daycare director.

Brown, who also owns a Century 21 real estate agency, has plans to build apartments on land he bought from the seminary. He has already built a residential subdivision called Dogwood Court.

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