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Bradley University buys former Main Street Avanti's, with plans to convert the site to green space

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Peoria County

Bradley University plans to convert the former Avanti's restaurant at University and West Main Street into green space.

In an email to faculty and staff, Bradley University president Stephen Standifird said the university acquired the property on Friday. Terms of the deal weren't immediately available, but commercial realtor Joseph & Camper had the property and adjacent parcels listed for $799,000.

“This project represents an investment in our campus and our community,” said Standifird in the email. “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.”

Standifird said site surveys and green space design will begin soon.

A project timeline wasn't immediately available.

The Avanti's location closed in April 2022. Avanti's owner Stefan Zeller blamed traffic congestion at Main and University, consumer pattern changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, and "demographic and population shifts" on Peoria's West Bluff for the closure. The Central Illinois Italian restaurant chain had operated out of that location since 1989. Other locations remain open in Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin and Bloomington-Normal.

Avanti's first restaurant opened on Peoria's West Main Street in 1966.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.