Beginning with Star Union Spirits and followed by Fire on Fifth and the Atrium, the center of the Westclox building in Peru has seen life for the first time in decades.
The next phases of renovation, two event centers, will bring even more people through the doors of the long shuttered clock factory.
“The goal with Westclox is provide an area for the community to use for a variety of reasons. Our goal is to bring people here,” said Cody Grandadam, one of Westclox building’s owners. “You figure Starved Rock gets up to 2 million visitors a year, so we feel this would be a nice area for them to move away from Starved Rock, visit for the day and hopefully pull in people from outside the area as well.
“If you have a wedding with 400 people and they’re all traveling from Chicago, they all need a place to stay or a place to eat and obviously they’re looking for entertainment, so that’s the goal for the facility. That’s to bring a large amount of people here.”
The first phase is the smaller event center, which is 3,000 square feet and can host up to 200 people. It is located to east of the Atrium and has already hosted a few events.
The second larger event center, which will be roughly 8,000 square feet, can host up to 800 people and will be located on the west side of the Atrium next to Fire on Fifth.
Both centers will have a similar aesthetic to the rest of the center wing.
“We’re going to leave it very industrial. All the natural brick will be exposed. The ceilings are going to be left in their natural state,” said Grandadam, adding the concrete floors will be sanded down and stained but will keep their natural form.
“It’s going to have that really cool, Chicago industrial feel.”
The largest transformation has already taken place, which was the removal of the old windows that let in little natural light. A total of 10 new windows were recently installed.
The first wedding for the new center is scheduled for September. The space will include a commercial kitchen for catering, a full-service bar, a pour wall similar to Fire on Fifth’s, and bride’s and groom’s rooms.
Grandadam hopes to host other events as well. He recalled in the past when the building played host to boat shows.
“A lot of people were inside here and that’s kind of what our vision is, too,” he said.
He would like to host trade shows, comedians and other entertainers.
“It’s just a really cool atmosphere to have fun, have a beer, drink some spirits from Star Union and have some pizza, all under one roof,” he said.
As far as parking for guests, Grandadam said there are 75 spaces in front of 408 Fine Arts Factory and Carus, located across the street, has been accommodating in letting guests use their lots. Grandadam also said the plan is to utilize the parking behind Westclox.
“We’re designing this (event center) to prepare for that,” he said, noting there will be a cavernous hallway leading guests to the back of the building to the parking lot.
In the future, Grandadam hopes to build an amphitheater to host live music in the back as well.
There is 30,000 square feet at the back of the building for future development as well as other spaces within the building.
Grandadam hopes their recent projects spark interest in the community to utilize other parts of the building.