On the surface, the District's third annual Loft Tour might seem to be little more than a series of open houses.
Actually, it is the next step in an ongoing project to enhance economic development in the downtown area and continue the creation of an urban neighborhood environment -- which, of course, will contribute to the aforementioned economic development.
Bruce Guthrie, who is executive director of the District, says the vision of a number of local developers to create the upper-level downtown living areas has been a "tremendous success" and will only grow in the coming years.
"All over the country, there is an increased demand for downtown living and to (re)build the urban neighborhoods," Guthrie said. "That, in turn, creates more sales tax, plus increasing property value -- which brings in more property tax."
This year's Loft Tour is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. Loft sites that will be open are:
º 512 Hampshire.
º 119-121 N. Sixth (three lofts).
º 127-129 N. Sixth (raw space).
º 104 N. Sixth.
"There is no certain order, but the ability to climb stairs is required," Guthrie said.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 the day of the tour.
"Over the first two years, there have been 13 or 14 lofts rented, and four more are almost done," Guthrie said. "This has been very successful."
He said the development of the lofts also serves as a redevelopment of many of the older and often historic downtown building sites.
"This is taking advantage of the space available on the upper floors of many of the downtown buildings where only the first floor might currently be utilized," Guthrie said. "The views from many of these structures are stunning, and the architecture of these buildings lends itself to modern updates for their new owners."
For more information, call the District at 217-228-8696.
What others are saying
º Pew Research: "The percentage of residents who think jobs in their area are plentiful spiked to 50 percent last month, the highest reading since the Pew Research Center began asking the question 16 years ago. Those perceptions match reality. In October, the unemployment rate also reached its lowest point since 2001, and the number of people working part time because they can't find full-time jobs is back to its pre-recession level. However, landing a job doesn't necessarily mean paying all the bills. Nearly half (49 percent) of Americans still feel their wages haven't kept up with the cost of living."
º Fox Business: "Retail giant Target is selling fidget spinners, one of this year's most popular gadgets, with levels of lead deemed unsafe for children, according to a new report. The study, conducted by consumer advocacy group U.S. PIRG, found that Target is selling two types of fidget spinners that contain as much as 330 times the acceptable amount of lead for young children. The two products are the ‘Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass' and the ‘Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal.' Fidget spinners have been marketed as a therapeutic tool to help stop ‘fidgeting' and maintain focus; they have even been banned in some schools because they have become a distraction in classrooms. However, even as the holidays approach, Target is not backing down on its stance to sell the product both in its stores nationwide and on its website. The reason? It, along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the manufacturer, Bulls-I-Toy, say the products aren't required to meet lead safety requirements because they are not technically designed for children."
º Reuters: "For years, Black Friday has marked the start of the holiday shopping season in the United States with retailers offering steep discounts. But its popularity has been on the wane with the rise of online shopping and inexpensive deals throughout the year. The holiday shopping season, which runs through Christmas on Dec. 25, can account for as much as 40 percent of retailers' annual sales."
The top five
According to bankrate.com, these are the most popular colors for new cars, based on sales:
1. Black, 31.4 percent.
2. White, 19.6 percent.
3. Silver, 13.1 percent.
4. Dark grey, 9.1 percent.
5. Grey, 6.5 percent.
Notable: Red, 5.2 percent; blue, 3.6 percent; green 0.3 percent.
Words of wisdom
Bronze medal: "I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions." -- Stephen Covey, U.S. educator and businessman.
Silver medal: "The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it." -- President Theodore Roosevelt.
Gold medal: "Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine." -- David Ogilvy, advertising tycoon.