ST. LOUIS — An Alton firm focused on revitalizing the Metro East town plans to develop a $21 million innovation center to house startups and later-stage companies.
AltonWorks, led by John and Jayne Simmons, on Monday said it will transform the Wedge and Elgen buildings on the 600 block of East Broadway into the Wedge Innovation Center. It is part of the firm's plan to renovate 25 historic buildings it owns in downtown Alton for uses such as offices and apartments.
The Wedge Innovation Center will include private offices, a co-working space and a fiber network, and possibly a restaurant and retail space on the center’s ground floor. Plans call for it to target companies involved in “social impact innovation,” specifically around the topics of livability, clean technology and climate technology.
The AltonWorks plan is placing an emphasis on projects that have a social impact component. In addition to the innovation center, the AltonWorks plans will include renovating a pair of buildings across the street from Wedge center for apartments, office space and an art center. In May, AltonWorks opened Flock Food Truck Park & Bar in Alton.
Simmons, CEO of AltonWorks and chairman of Alton-based law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, said the $21 million for the innovation center project will come from bank financing, private investment and historic tax credits. It has also received a $3 million grant from the State of Illinois’ Rebuild Illinois Downtowns and Main Streets Capital Program for the project.
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