Chicago developer visits Peoria's south side

By WEEK Producer

July 19, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2013 at 10:25 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- A Chicago developer toured Peoria's South side on Friday with an eye toward major development.

Zeb McLaurin was in the River City on the invitation of 1st District City Councilwoman Denise Moore.

McLaurin's company has developed shopping malls, banks and major retail stores.

His development of a Target store in a Chicago housing project area caught Moore's attention.

The councilwoman said that kind of creativity and investment is vital to the South side.

"There are no clothing retailers here, there are no daycare providers here. There are many thing that are missing here that open up the potential for entrepreneurs to come out, for other corporations to see that there is a potential to have a positive income in this area,” said Moore.

"There's no magic formula from my experience and my opinion. I think it's all a matter of the natural resources that exist within an area. As we're standing out here I'm noticing a lot of vehicular traffic on this strip, obviously going to and from downtown. You're literally a stone's throw from the Bradley University area and we're not that far from the business center downtown. So it has some inherent value within it," said McLaurin

McLaurin said the key to urban redevelopment is commercial mixed-use and mixed-income developments.

City officials said they are excited about the prospect of working with McLaurin to revive some of Peoria's distressed areas.