Charleston offers three prime areas for commercial development:
Lincoln Avenue (Illinois Route 16) is the primary route through Charleston. The average daily traffic count is 25,000 vehicles per day. Illinois Route 16 connects Charleston to our neighbor the City of Mattoon. The highway also serves as the connector between the Eastside Commercial area and the Coles Business Park. Eastern Illinois University if located on Lincoln Avenue as well. The commercial district along Lincoln Avenue is located in the Enterprise Zone and businesses locating in this area may be eligible for certain development incentives.
The Eastside Commercial Area was initially developed in 2000 with the construction of a 154,450 square foot Wal-mart Supercenter. It is located on Illinois Route 16 on the east side of Charleston. The highway has an average daily traffic count of 12,500 vehicles per day. The site’s predominant retail draw is from Charleston and several smaller rural communities to the east and to the south. Commercial lots are available for immediate development. This commercial district is located in the Enterprise Zone and businesses locating in this area may be eligible for certain development incentives.
The Historic Downtown Commercial District is the original “heart” of the community. In the center of the square stands the impressive County Courthouse built in 1900 on the same site as a former courthouse building where Abraham Lincoln practiced law as a circuit court lawyer from 1841 to 1855. The turn-of-the century architecture, landscaping, historic murals, shade trees, brick pavers and awnings all add to the ambiance of the square. The commercial district falls within a Tax Increment Financing District which generates tax revenues that can then be used for redevelopment projects within the district. The funds are typically available in the form of grants and low interest loans.