Eclipse Center Landscaping Underway

Posted: Monday, September 17, 2012 4:00 pm

By Sherry Blakeley Daily News correspondent

A new water feature will add the finishing touch to the reconstruction project at the corner of Henry Avenue and Riverside Drive in Beloit.

Planned for completion in time for the dedication of the Ken Hendricks Memorial Bridge on Saturday, the improvement is part of the large-scale plan for revitalizing the Eclipse Center. A waterfall will trail down the hillside and flow behind a new sign for the center.

Kevin Rogers, senior vice president of property management for Hendricks Commercial Properties, heads the project.

“This work is a continuation of the large scale façade improvement project which we started in 2010,” he said.

Corporate Contractors Inc. (CCI) is overseeing all of the Eclipse Center improvements.

“Diane Hendricks has made a major commitment to the Eclipse Center so we continue to add to that vision,” said Rob Gerbitz, president and COO of Hendricks Development Group.

He said an entire new landscape plan is under way.

“It’s going to be pretty nice,” he said. “We’re working to make it a great entrance to the Eclipse City Center.”

Rogers described other parts of the project, which will change the look of the busy corner from Henry Avenue wrapping around the hillside all the way south to Eclipse Avenue. Landscaping on the steep bank will replace the existing crown vetch with a perennial seed mix.

“This will bring more color and depth,” Rogers said.

As part of the overall plan, a pedestrian sidewalk with additional landscaping was added that trails down from the Beloit Public Library parking lot to Riverside Drive, making a safe and attractive pathway for walkers and bicycle riders.

“We have a lot of tenants and customers who walk or bike to the property,” he said.

The original entrance from Riverside was removed in 2010 when the overall improvements got under way.

“In addition to the landscape, we are improving the parking lot on the west side of the building. Plans call for the addition of islands, a featured patio area at the corner, and new pavement throughout.

“Overall, the goal is to improve the look of the building, as well as visibility and access to the property.

“First and foremost it’s a big improvement to the property we have there. We are changing it from a 1970s mall look to something more up-to-date,” Rogers said. “Some of the parking lot changes give a safer path to the building and the tenant spaces. The islands will allow for more defined parking.”

The improvements to the Eclipse Center’s exterior came under discussion four years ago.

“We got the first part done in 2010. This will complete the majority of it. We plan to move around to working on the exterior of the north part of the building in 2013,” he said.

The Eclipse Center is partially full.

“We have proposals out to a number of different tenants,” he said.

Plans are not yet finalized on who will occupy the remaining spaces. Plans include attention to the former Kohl’s Grocery Store.

“We’re going to clean that space up over the winter and get it shape,” he said.

He hopes that all major improvements will be accomplished next year. The Hendricks Development plan will cost $3 million for the entire

project.

“I know it’s going to look great,” Rogers said. “We just want it to be a high quality, dramatic entrance for the city and for the Eclipse Center.”

Original Article