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Business and the Economy

Dedication of Sky Eleven, Sterling Caps Historic Summer for Downtown Springfield

The latest in a series of large-scale renovation projects in downtown Springfield has now been formally introduced.

Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU

The Vecino Group, owner of four historic downtown properties, held its grand opening for Sky Eleven and The Sterling Thursday night. The celebration caps a historic stretch for the city, developers and citizens, who have also seen both Heer’s Luxury Living and Hotel Vandivort come online within the last several weeks.

Tim Roth is the lead developer for the former Woodruff Building, now called Sky Eleven. He described Thursday’s milestone as emotional.

“To be able to be a part of history again is a once in a lifetime thing,” Roth said.

“It’s a tribute to everyone that has spent time on it. It’s a tribute to our financial partners, our tax credit partners, the city of Springfield; to their ability to believe in us and to believe in Springfield enough to invest.”

The 90-unit, 153-bed premium student housing and urban living high-rise took three and half years to complete. Total cost is approximately $15 million. It features a heated pool and cabana area, and a game room, among other amenities. Students can rent by the bed.

Sky Eleven stands 10 stories high, and encompasses 102,000 square feet.

“Two-thirds of it were built in 1911. And the other third was built in 1959, and that’s the period of our historical significance here. That’s why we have the mid-century modern furniture in our lounge. We kept the blue on the building.”

Roth says artifacts inside the structure pay tribute to John T. Woodruff, the developer of 331 Park Central East who was also instrumental of various other projects, including historic Route 66. 

On Friday afternoon, the city will host a plaque dedication ceremony at 1:30 p.m. at Sky Eleven. It’s to commemorate Nov. 11, 1926 as the day that “66” was confirmed as the name for the new Chicago to Los Angeles highway via telegram to John T. Woodruff’s office in what was then the Woodruff Building. The event kicks off this weekend’s Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, which is now in its fifth year.

Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU
The Sterling, across the street from Sky Eleven, was also dedicated on Thursday.

Across the street from Sky Eleven, on the south side of Park Central East, is The Sterling. This $3 million project offers 30 micro-unit apartments aimed at young professionals and retirees. It offers designated areas on each floor for community-shared items, such as appliances and tools, books and periodicals. There are also community bikes and a community SmartCar.

“Park East is what we are branding this neighborhood here, which includes The U (formerly the McDaniel Building), which opened last year, The Sterling, which we’re celebrating tonight as well, and then Sky Eleven.”

Roth says that with the new developments, Vecino Group is bringing about 300 residents to this side of the square, adding that Park East is a great way to brand the area when you factor in all the nearby restaurants and shops.  

The Vecino Group also owns The Frisco, formerly the Landmark Building. That property sits north of Sky Eleven and opened in 2014.

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