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Bradley University’s growing investment in community

Avanti’s Italian Restaurant. Photo by Matt Lucas.

What was once central Peoria’s home for “great Italian food” – the Main Street location of Avanti’s Italian Restaurant – will soon become a green space after Bradley University bought the property.

The sale of the 0.62-acre property, which was finalized Jan. 20, included commercial and residential parking lots.

“This project represents an investment in our campus and our community,” President Stephen Standifird said in a press release. “This highly visible property sits on the thresholds of our campus. Green space here will add appeal to the area, ease pedestrian mobility near the Main and University intersection, and will provide needed space for respite and recreation.”

The Main Street Avanti’s location shuttered its doors in April 2022 after CEO Stefan Zeller cited difficulties accessing the location, COVID-19 effects and changing demographics as to why the location closed after 33 years.

According to the press release, surveying and design work will soon be underway but a timeline for the demolition of the former Avanti’s building has not yet been announced.

One Comment

  1. Steve Tarter Steve Tarter January 27, 2023

    I think there’s more to the Avanti’s story than the BU press release.
    What’s been the neighborhood reaction? What’s the benefit of green space on a busy street corner–are BU students going to be hanging out there instead of Bradley Park, a block down? Isn’t this an opportunity to “fix” that corner, to adjust a situation that Avanti’s suggests was the reason the business closed? What’s going on across Main Street at the building that once housed the adult education department. You have a story in the same issue of the Scout on the the importance Bradley places on being an entrepreneur. How could that building serve both the school and the community? Is there a business that could work there?

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