Renovation project aims to bring new retail space to vacant building in downtown Galesburg

GALESBURG, Illinois -- Work is underway to rehab a large building in downtown Galesburg. Owner Rob Benedict, who is also president of local contractor MSI, says he envisions retail space and entertainment options opening there by as early as next spring.

It comes as other historic buildings in the area have been restored and outfitted with restaurants and other businesses.

Benedict's sons, who also work at MSI, are helping on the project. The building previously served as MSI headquarters, and historically, as a car dealership.

"It's all open rafter concept, big open windows," said Blake Benedict, Vice President of Safety at MSI. "And the are over the last few years in down town Galesburg has kind of redeveloped," he said.

They say where you now see dust and rubble, envision local businesses like a bakery, craft beer brewery, retail or restaurants.

"Bring something different and bring in a destination spot," said Adam Benedict, project manager at MSI. "I think with the train station and everything right there, it's easy aces for surrounding towns, and even Chicago," he said.

The developers say they will keep the original look of the building, including the large showroom windows and exteriors. In the back they plan to add an awning for outdoor events. The building also provides ample parking for as many as 100 vehicles.

As the Benedicts plot out the future of the downtown destination, they say there's still much to learn about the building's past. They hope people in the community who have more information will come forward.

"We just know it was a dealership, it was a Ford dealership for sure," said Adam Benedict. "There’s not a lot of history on the building, even in the archives of Knox County or in the library or anything like that," he said.

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