Kim Blickenstaff plans to renovate parts of Peoria heights Illinois.

There is a lot of nature in Sankoty Lakes Resort near Peoria Heights Illinois. It is amazing how close to nature you can be, even when you are not very far from society. Sankoty Lakes Resort is one of the many places that developer Kim Blickenstaff is planning on developing farther and making a better place for people to enjoy. He wants to make the area a hunting, fishing and camping resort.

  But Sankonty Lakes is not the only place that he is planning on developing. He has a plan to transform many buildings full of asbestos into places such as concert halls, hotels, resorts and shops.

  However, it has been hard. Some projects have been delayed due to certain weather, Covid-19 and many of the buildings he plans on demolishing contain asbestos.

 Before the 1970s asbestos was widely used in manufacturing and construction. Some people worked in asbestos factories. But it wasn’t good, and people were getting sick. After many years, health officials finally drew the line between health problems and asbestos. Asbestos was banned in the United States in the 1970s. Today, more than fifty countries across the world, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and all of the 28 of the European Union have banned asbestos.

  Why does asbestos removal slow the demolition process?

  The process to remove asbestos isn’t easy. When asbestos is broken up. (which happens in demolitions) the asbestos becomes very dangerous because the particles are so tiny and they can get into your lungs and cause lung cancer. That risk makes the demolition process tricky. Trained officials must go into the building containing asbestos and carefully remove the asbestos before the major demolition takes place. Unless in the case of an emergency demolition where the workers use water to prevent as many particles as they can from going into the air.

  Now let’s look at some of the buildings that Kim Blickenstaff plans to remodel.

1. Betty Jane Brimmer Center for the Performing Arts.

What used to be an old library is now a place where people can come and enjoy performances. It has been operating since February of 2019 and had its official grand opening in August of 2019. It has outdoor seating so audiences can enjoy performances even during Covid-19.

The cost of the purchase and the reconstruction was approximately $2.6 million dollars.

2. Scottish Rite Cathedral.

The renovation of the former Masonic temple is about 85% complete. The cost is currently at $5 million dollars. It’s intended purpose is for concerts and performances.

3. Atrium hotel

The building was formerly the Peoria Heights mall. It is now being transformed into a hotel. The building has been gutted. Preliminary work on asbestos abatement is finished. The approximate cost is $25 million dollars.

4. Gray boy lofts

Specialty retail stores and residential lofts are planned for this area. The property is cleared, saving a subway restaurant which is looking for a place to relocate. The approximate cost is $14 million dollars. Nearly $1.2 million dollars was already spent on acquisition and demolition.  

5. Pump house

The former area of the village’s water department pump house will be renovated into a business called Popcorn Works. The business will offer gourmet popcorn, candies and other things. The cost for renovations is approximately $370,000 dollars. The grand opening is expected in early 2021.

  We can be glad that buildings formerly filled with asbestos, lead and other dangerous materials are now being transformed into enjoyable areas for the public. With many abandoned and asbestos filled buildings across Illinois and the United States it is encouraging to see many buildings being taken care of.