A groundbreaking ceremony for a new Downtown Washington development will take place this Friday.

The project will include residential units and commercial buildings — with the bulk being residential.

Front Street Development LLC will host a public ground-breaking from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at the corner of Front and Jefferson streets. The actual groundbreaking will take place at 4 p.m.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Andy Unerstall, developer of the project. “It looks like we’re going to have some good weather, so we figured let’s try and squeeze a groundbreaking in here.”

The project was approved last week by the Washington City Council for tax increment financing. It is Unerstall’s second TIF project on Front Street after completing the Rhine River development.

The proposal calls for an estimated $10,691,890 in redevelopment costs with $1.5 million coming from the TIF. The city of Washington is requesting $550,000 for utility work.

Unerstall said all the papers are signed and work is ready to begin on the project. His construction company will be handling the work.

Crews were already out Monday putting up safety railings at the old reservoir site where the groundbreaking will take place. Unerstall said his crews are starting work at that site.

Trees will be removed from the site and all the rock walls of the old reservoir will be demolished, he said.

Unerstall said demo work is what will take place at the first site for the next several months. He hopes to start pouring foundations this summer and would ideally like people living in one of the eight finished condos by Christmas.

The speed of the work depends on things like weather and Ameren. As part of the project, the city is working with Unerstall to bury power lines along Front Street. Unerstall said that work could delay construction.

Project Details

The project has three sites, with the first being the block between Lafayette and Jefferson streets, behind the old Modern Auto building. Unerstall said he has plans for eight 2,800-square-foot units.

The second site is located on Front and Main streets between Jefferson and Market streets. Residential and commercial buildings are planned.

The second site would have a building at the corner of Jefferson and Main streets. Plans call for 4,000 square feet of retail on the first floor and 3,000 square feet of office space on the second floor.

Site No. 3 is the last site in the TIF area. The property would contain four 1,200-square-foot residential units.

As part of the project, Unerstall said power lines from Market to Lafayette would be buried. Additionally, all the sidewalks around the development would be taken out and replaced.

Unerstall anticipates that it will take two to three years for the three sites to be developed.