The ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES is taking over the former Barney’s Furniture space on South Grand Avenue East in Springfield.

DHS plans to use the space as a downstate, files warehouse. Five employees will work at the building, which will not be open to the public. Barney’s Furniture relocated last year to expanded space at 1987 Wabash Ave. after 41 years at 2410 South Grand Ave. E.

“The employees will be retrieving, sorting and maintaining files on a daily basis,” DHS said in a statement. “Efficiencies include the consolidation of required (record) retention efforts from other facilities, as well as the maintenance required to the current dispersed warehouse locations.”

DHS has signed a five-year lease at a cost of $478,256 annually the first two years, $487,881 for years three and four, and $497,507 for the final year.

The warehouse is the latest in a series of relocation and consolidation of state office space around the city. Approximately 290 DHS employees relocated to Iles Park Place at Sixth and Ash streets in 2016.


Make that FOUR PROPOSED PLAZAS and counting for Springfield’s downtown commercial-historic district.

As The State Journal-Register’s Bernard Schoenburg reported last week, Springfield attorney Don Tracy is working with Gov. Bruce Rauner on an ambitious plan for the YWCA block, across Jackson Street from the Executive Mansion. A viewing tower, video screens, a fountain and maybe even a cable car between the park and a downtown building are all envisioned.

Just how that plan fits with the city’s new focus on an “urban park” for the block remains to be seen. Tracy outlined the proposal just two days after the city Economic Development Commission recommended use of $1 million in tax increment financing funding toward a $2.6 million Bicentennial Plaza proposed by Illinois Realtors. The green space and park would be just north of the Realtors headquarters between Fifth and Sixth streets.

Downtown Springfield Inc. has floated similar additions to Old Capitol Plaza, including family-friendly events.

Crews finished razing the former YWCA building in the past week. The remainder of the cleanup should be completed by the end of the month, according to the city.


The city’s first medical marijuana dispensary reports more than 400 patients registered in a first-year update released last week. HCI ALTERNATIVES opened Feb. 18, 2016, in a 9,000-square-foot space at 628 E. Adams St.

HCI started with 15 patients, a number that grew to 45 within the first month, according to the company. The dispensary has 11 full-time workers and provides medical marijuana for more than 40 health conditions. The website is


A $6 million upgrade of THE BOULEVARD TOWNHOMES, formerly the MacArthur Park Apartments, should be completed by early April.

“We’re finishing new apartments every other week,” said managing director Tom Anderson with Cohen-Esrey Affordable Partners. A grand opening for the 184-unit complex is targeted for May.

Cohen-Esrey, based in Overland Park, Kansas, purchased the apartments in 2015.


WALGREENS and CVS both have local closings planned this week. The Walgreens at 1155 N. Ninth St. is scheduled to close Tuesday and the CVS at 611 South Grand Ave. E. on Friday.

The companies earlier said the closings resulted from regular reviews of local store performance.  Pharmacy records, in both cases, will be transferred to other Springfield locations.


The CEFCU branch at 1000 E. Lincolnshire Blvd. in Springfield has opened. The branch is in a commercial development anchored by the Wal-Mart on South Sixth Street. The Peoria-based credit union also has branches at 2449 N. Dirksen Parkway and 2224 W. Iles Ave. The website is


STARCREST CLEANERS has begun foundation work at 2025 S. MacArthur Blvd., according to construction permits filed with city Building and Zoning. The MacArthur Boulevard location will be the fourth in Springfield for the Bloomington-based company. 

Also at Building and Zoning:

* CRAZY 8 (children’s clothing); White Oaks Mall, space renovation.

* HOPE VETERINARY CLINIC, 4337 Conestoga Drive; remodel.

* THE VILLAS AT DOWNTOWN SPRINGFIELD, 261 N. Fourth St.; add lease space.

* HICKORY RIVER, 2342 N. Dirksen Parkway; signage.

* FREE PRESS COFFEE, 1370 Toronto Road; signage.

— Contact Tim Landis:, 788-1536, Listen to his WUIS/SJ-R business report Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning on WUIS 91.9 FM, 89.3 FM and, or online at