Known as the Kickapoo/Anheuser Busch Building, this flatiron building in Peoria, Illinois has been given a much needed breath of fresh air. To say that such unique buildings don’t get built anymore is an understatement. Having traveled in and around Peoria since 2001, I had come across this building as a half-vacant, down-trodden diamond in the rough. The awnings were haggard and full of holes. The wind blew through them like a tattered old pirate flag. A dry cleaners occupied part of the building, but nothing about it screamed “inviting.”
In May 2010 (about 2 years prior to the great leap I documented in Somebody’s Got A Case Of The Mondays), my then-fiance and I were in from Dallas for our wedding. Before our nuptials, I spent a lot of the week trolling around looking at the forgotten architectural gems of the city. To my amazement, I saw this building sitting on an island just waiting to be redeveloped.
Peoria, like many old industrial cities of its size, is struggling through a renaissance to reclaim its downtown core. Located on Main Street, the options of what could be done with this building were endless. As the only flatiron building in Central Illinois it was certainly worth an attempt. Like most things that were constructed in the early 1900′s, it was a mix of uses with living quarters above, and in this case (as the building indicates), a beer hall below. The exterior, adorned with Anheuser Busch logos and detailing, makes this building a permanent sign of its time.
I was happy and jealous to see that a new coffee shop would be opening up in the building in November of 2011. I knew from the get-go that this building could be awesome once again with the right attention to detail. The problem was, I wish I was the one who had given it the resuscitation it needed… but you can’t win ‘em all. Enter thirty-thirty coffee and their great group of young entrepreneurs equipped with a strong vision and an even better product. I’m always thankful to see people who can restore buildings to their former glory and also create something that makes a community stronger.
Since their opening, I have been there on several occasions. The atmosphere is always welcoming, the space is unique, the customer service is spot-on, and as a caffeine craver, the coffee is great. They take a lot of pride in their product – not just at the end use of consumption – but the entire experience. While I may still be jealous, I have a stronger appreciation for what the crew has done at thirty-thirty. I wish them the best of luck and future success.