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Ameren Illinois Announces Projects to Build Smarter Energy Infrastructure in Belleville

in Companies

New substation, outage detection technology among enhancements to improve service reliability and reduce customer costs.


Ameren Illinois announced today that it has begun constructing a new state-of-the-art substation and installing smart technology to support commercial and residential growth in Belleville’s west end.

The substation – to be known as North Shrine – is being built near Lamask Drive and Briar Hill Road on the north side of Illinois Route 15, across the highway from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.   When in service, by the end  of Spring, the North Shrine substation will meet the energy needs of the new Hofbräuhaus Brewery, currently under construction, and a hotel and conference center planned for the site.  It will contain advanced equipment capable of better serving electric load increases expected from these new commercial developments while boosting reliability for more than 2,000 residential and commercial customers in the area. The substation footprint will be large enough to add an additional transformer if needed.

Five outage detection devices, known as IntelliRupters, will be installed onto circuits that feed out of and tie to the new substation.  These smart devices sense faults in the flow of electricity and identify circuits from which power can be re-routed to reduce the number of customers affected by an outage.

“These projects are a key step in our long-range plans to construct a smarter electric grid to meet our customers growing needs,” said Raymond Riddle, director of Division Operations for Ameren Illinois serving St. Clair County. “We’re excited to bring these innovative enhancements to our customers in the region.”

The work is part of a multi-year initiative to modernize the energy delivery system. Since 2012, Ameren Illinois has implemented hundreds of projects, adding new technology and strengthening poles, wires and distribution equipment.  As a result, reliability has improved by an average of 17 percent.

Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers throughout central and southern Illinois.

Photo Above: A J.F. Electric lineman, working on behalf of Ameren Illinois, works to position a new IntelliRupter into place on a power pole in Signal Hill.  As part of its Modernization Action Plan, Ameren Illinois is building a smarter energy infrastructure in Belleville.  The IntelliRupter will team with two other smart switches in the neighborhood. These smart devices sense faults in the flow of electricity and identify circuits from which power can be re-routed to reduce the number of customers affected by an outage.

Hyatt Place Hotel & Conference Center Set For Belleville

in Homepage Primary/News

6-Story Tower With 130 Guest Rooms Plus Restaurant & 24 Meeting Rooms

The first totally new hotel to be built in Belleville in 55 years will be a six-story Hyatt Place tower with an adjoining conference center and full-service restaurant on Illinois State Route 15 across from the main entrance to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

Construction of the 130-room hotel and 40,000-square-foot conference center will begin in the spring, with completion expected about 18 months later, according to Chane Keller, vice-president of Oak Tree Management Services. Oak Tree Management is developing the 33-acre site and will operate the hotel/conference center.

“This Hyatt Place hotel with its national reservation system and the adjoining internationally recognized Hofbräuhaus restaurant are significant milestones for Belleville,” Keller said.

“Add this state-of-the-art conference and meeting center with a ballroom for 1,500 people and Belleville will have a world-class hospitality complex,” Keller added.

“The combination of these facilities will draw business and leisure travelers from throughout the Midwest. We plan to work with all other entertainment facilities and tourism groups in the area, including Gateway International Raceway, the Casino Queen, Fairmount Park race track, the Blues hockey team and the Cardinals baseball team plus the St. Louis Sports Commission and the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission as well as Illinois South Tourism,” Keller said. “We will do our best to maximize interest in visiting Belleville, Southwestern Illinois and St. Louis.”

Construction and design costs for the hotel, restaurant and conference center are estimated at about $28 million, Keller said.

ICON Commercial Lending, Inc., (www.ICONcl.com) has invested in a partnership with Oak Tree Management to own the hotel/conference center/restaurant and has guaranteed up to $30 million for construction, according to ICON Managing Director Randall Farr.

“We at ICON are excited about participating in this Hyatt Place hotel/conference center project with Oak Tree Management and the Keller Family. We believe this overall development will be a huge benefit to the City of Belleville, to St. Clair County and to the entire St. Louis area,” Farr said.

The hotel at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows will remain open and under Shrine management until the Hyatt Place complex opens. Current plans are for the 70-room hotel then to be closed and the building re-purposed for another use, not yet determined, according to Chris Diehl, the Shrine’s guest services and marketing manager.

Building construction of the $12 million, 1,000-seat Hofbräuhaus restaurant in the same development is expected to be completed in January, with installation and testing of brewing equipment imported from Germany in January and February. Opening date will be determined when satisfactory production at the on-site brewery is established.

Site preparation is expected to resume soon, to be followed by the installation of streets, curbing, parking lots and utilities.

Construction details for the previously announced Jack Flash convenience store and fuel station are nearing completion, with building expected to begin in the spring.

IMPACT Strategies Passes Milestone On St. Louis-Belleville Hofbrauhaus

in Companies/Homepage Primary/News

Construction-management firm IMPACT Strategies, Inc., has surpassed the half-way point in building the St. Louis-Belleville Hofbrauhaus, the largest single themed destination restaurant in the region.

The 31,000-square-foot structure, reaching 58 feet in height, is the largest of the seven Hofbrauhaus restaurants in North America, and is about half-again larger than the 20,000-square-foot Chicago facility.

The restaurants are modeled after the traditional and centuries old beer halls and restaurants in Bavaria. Each building must meet strict standards for appearance, quality and detailed craftsmanship. Similarly strict standards are set for food, beverages and service.

“The Hofbrauhaus will have the look and feel of old world Germany,” according to IMPACT President Mark Hinrichs. “The architecture is unique, and includes high vaulted ceilings. The look, the attention to detail that the developers are requesting, and the general atmosphere to be created will help assure that Hofbrauhaus becomes a popular destination for adults throughout the region and beyond,” he said.

Hofbrauhaus beers will be brewed on-site with state-of-the-art equipment produced in Vienna and shipped to Belleville. Munich-based brewmasters will assist in managing installation of the equipment and will train local brewmasters and staff. Furnishings and beer steins will duplicate Old World Bavarian beer halls

The kitchen is designed to assure that 1,000 diners can be served at one seating. A private dining room will accommodate up to 250 people and an outdoor biergarten another 250 guests.

IMPACT Strategies, Inc., specializes in retail, commercial, medical, senior housing and education construction and offers comprehensive construction services including design-build, general contracting, construction management and pre-construction management.

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