Ask MRN: Is Pritzker sending buses of migrants to Quincy to be housed in former ShopKo building?

ShopKo building

RLP Development Company, Inc., a real estate development firm in Edwardsville, bought the former ShopKo property at 3200 Broadway for $1.8 million in December 2021. | David Adam

Dear MRN,

Do you happen to know if there is any truth to (Illinois Governor JB) Pritzker sending buses to Quincy with migrants? Supposedly they are going in ShopKo.

Have you heard the rumor that the old ShopKo building is being retrofitted to bring in illegals from other countries to live/house/etc.? Please investigate. We absolutely don’t want this in western Illinois.

The number of similar questions about the same topic received by the staff at Muddy River News is easily in double digits. 

RLP Development Company, Inc., a real estate development firm in Edwardsville, bought the former ShopKo property at 3200 Broadway for $1.8 million. Documents filed in the Adams County Recorder of Deeds office show the sale was finalized Dec. 16, 2021. RLP Development Company, Inc., in Edwardsville was listed as the buyer, while 3200 Quincy Holdings LLC from Brooklyn, N.Y., was listed as the seller.

Jaime Eads, a project manager with RLP Development, told Muddy River News in a Jan. 27, 2022, story that the company had “no plans to do anything at the moment” with the 7.2-acre commercial property.

WLS-TV in Chicago reported Tuesday more than 35,000 migrants from the southern U.S. border have arrived in Chicago in the last year and a half. Pritzker has said the state offered financial help to the city to house migrants, but that money has not been earmarked yet for a specific project by the city.

When Ryan Darr, another project manager for RLP Development, was asked if the property eventually would be used to house migrants from Chicago, he laughed.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

He said the demolition phase of the project recently was completed. 

“When we acquired the property, there was racking (when buildings tilt as their structural components are forced out of plumb), leftover materials from the previous owner and a few things of that sort,” Darr said. “We’ve thrown stuff away. We’ve recycled a lot of stuff. We’ve donated some of the materials. 

“Honestly, what we’re doing next, we don’t know what ultimately that will end up being. We have a few different concept ideas for the space. As far as what the end game is going to be, we do not know yet. We’re still trying to figure out exactly how we want to utilize the space.”

Muddy River News reached out to Governor Pritzker’s office for a statement. Alex Gough, press secretary for the governor, said there were no such plans in place and municipalities would have to apply for funding to house migrants.

Gough added Urbana is the only downstate municipality to receive aid to house the migrants.

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