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Delay costs Rivian $650K tax break

NORMAL — Electric automaker Rivian was required to spend $10 million improving its west Normal plant by the end of 2018 to receive a property tax abatement, but much of the planned work was pushed into 2019, meaning local schools and governments will keep about $650,000 in revenue they expected to lose.

Normal seeks replacement for Dressbarn

NORMAL — The Normal town staff plans to work with M&J Wilkow, the Chicago real estate developer that owns the Shoppes at College Hills, to replace Dressbarn, which announced in May it was closing all 650 of its stores, including one next to Hobby Lobby off Towanda Avenue.

Revamped Target to add Starbucks

NORMAL — Starbucks will set up shop inside Target at 301 N. Veterans Parkway, in the Shoppes at College Hills in Normal, as part of sweeping store renovations this summer.

Ancho & Agave opens with hip, elegant vibe

BLOOMINGTON — Ancho & Agave, Bloomington-Normal's newest Tex-Mex restaurant and a creation of the Biaggi's restaurant chain, opened May 7 at the corner of Empire Street and Airport Road in Bloomington with a hip but elegant vibe.

Nussbaum to expand headquarters

NORMAL — Nussbaum Trucking, a family-owned and operated trucking company with about 350 trucks, 800 trailers and about 450 employees, submitted preliminary plans in May to the town of Normal to expand its headquarters building at the north end of town and add fenced-in trailer storage space.

Grand Cafe West Side closes 

BLOOMINGTON — Grand Café West Side, which opened in September 2018 at 1514 W. Market St. Bloomington, officially closed in May, leaving Grand Café Express at 2205 E. Oakland Ave., Bloomington, as the only successor to the Grand Cafe, a now-closed Chinese-American restaurant that was a poplar downtown fixture for almost a century.

Brass Pig joining downtown eateries

BLOOMINGTON — Tyler Holloway partnered with John Solberg and John VanBragt to open the Brass Pig Smoke & Ale House this summer in the former Pub America at 602 N. Main St., Bloomington, with a menu of savory smoked meats and other barbecued fare.

Pantagraph wins journalism awards

SPRINGFIELD — Pantagraph Photo Editor David Proeber, photographer Lewis Marien, Sports Editor Randy Kindred and Health Editor Paul Swiech were honored in May with Illinois Press Association awards for excellence in journalism in 2018. 

Pickering retires as Pantagraph editor

BLOOMINGTON — Mark Pickering, editor of The Pantagraph since 2006 and deputy regional editor of the Lee Enterprises’ Central Illinois Group, retired May 31, capping a 37-year career with the newspaper in which he rose from reporter to lead and mentor an award-winning newsroom.

Lincoln Lofts gets housing tax credits

BLOOMINGTON — Developers of  Lincoln Lofts, a proposed $17.9 million affordable housing complex on a vacant lot at 2220 E. Lincoln St., Bloomington, are getting $1.4 million in state low-income housing tax credits to help offset construction costs of the four-story, 56-apartment building.

Sales of new homes down in B-N

BLOOMINGTON — Only nine newly constructed homes were sold in Bloomington-Normal in the first three months of 2019, which was down from 22 for the period last year, and the average new-home sale price was 3.7 percent lower than a year ago, according to the Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors.

Menards to remodel, expand

NORMAL — Menards officials promise a better-stocked and reconfigured lumberyard and an expanded garden center will be among the changes when the home-improvement store at 900 Greenbriar Drive, Normal, finishes its current remodeling and expansion project by spring 2020.

Jobless rates tick up for B-N, state

BLOOMINGTON — The jobless rate was 4% for April for both the Bloomington metropolitan statistical area and the state as a whole, up slightly from 3.5% in the metro area and 3.8% for the state in April 2018, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Family Video closes Main St. store

BLOOMINGTON — Family Video announced in May it was closing its 1601 S. Main St., Bloomington, store because the building was sold recently and a Dollar General Store is planned for the space.

Specs to stay downtown

BLOOMINGTON — Plans for four eye care practices to merge into VisionPoint at a single location in east Bloomington are moving forward, but without Specs Around Town Optical Boutique, which has pulled out of the plan and will stay at its current location at 317 N. Center St. in downtown Bloomington.

Long John Silver's/A&W closes

BLOOMINGTON — The Long John Silver’s/A&W restaurant at 2501 E. Oakland Ave., Bloomington, which opened in 1976 and added the A&W brand in 2004, closed May 26 for an undisclosed reason.

CIRA numbers up; Delta cuts service

BLOOMINGTON — Passenger numbers at Central Illinois Regional Airport improved by 9.1 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to CIRA's annual report, but some of those gains will be lost after Delta discontinued service from the Twin Cities to the major airline hub of Minneapolis late last year.

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Public Safety Reporter

Public safety reporter for The Pantagraph.