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Fill the (Housing) Gap:  A Missing Middle Design Competition

SITE 02: Peoria, IL

The Site and Program

The site is located along West Main Street, in the West Bluff’s Orchard District Neighborhood.  The location is just up the Bluff from downtown and the City’s two major hospitals (OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and UnityPoint Health - Methodist), and approximately 9 blocks east of Bradley University.  It is a combination of 11 parcels of varying sizes, located on the north side of West Main Street, between Flora Avenue and Ellis Street. Proposed designs may utilize the entirety of available land or only consider only a portion of the site.

Peoria is a mid-size city in central Illinois with a population of approximately 116,000. It is the largest city on the Illinois River with note-worthy attractions including the striking Riverfront Museum as well as an abundance of scenic forest trails just outside the city. Peoria offers big city amenities with the flavor of small town hospitality.

Participants are strongly encouraged to consider the following:

  • The property is zoned under the West Main Street Form District (W-M), with primarily Neighborhood Center Frontage and a smaller portion of Local Commerce Frontage along both Flora Avenue and Ellis Street.  On each lot the building façade shall be built to the required building line for at least 80% of the required building line (RBL) length. The Form District regulations are available here. 

  • Designs do not need to meet all regulations of the existing zoning ordinance but will be tested against the city’s zoning ordinances and building code in order to identify what hurdles exist to the kind of development the city wants to see.

  • Be mindful and responsive to neighborhood context.  Use the infill designs to improve the existing fabric.  Compose the "missing teeth", knitting the new with old.

  • Project viability and marketability is key. This includes cost effectiveness of development and construction.

  • Stormwater management is key to project viability.  Higher density can exacerbate runoff and burden downhill properties.  Measures will need to be demonstrated that mitigate an increased stormwater burden.

  • Amenities and/or a ground level retail space is encouraged.

  • Account for required parking.  A minimum of 1 and 1/8 parking space per residential unit, of which a minimum of 1/8 parking space per residential unit shall be provided as shared parking. A maximum of two spaces per residential unit may be provided as reserved parking. There are no maximum limits on shared parking. A minimum of one space per 1,000 square feet of nonresidential gross floor area shall be provided as shared parking. A maximum of one space per 1,000 square feet of nonresidential gross floor area may be designated as reserved parking.

    • Example: a 24-unit apartment complex would require a total of 27 spaces (24 × 1-1/8). At least 3 spaces (1/8 × 24) must be made available as shared parking (not reserved).

  • Provide ample bicycle parking.

Example Resident Profiles

Bill and Vickie are a married couple in their 50’s, who have been living in the suburbs and commuting to work.  Both are doctors at a local hospital. Now that they are empty-nesters, they are interested in downsizing and living within walking distance of their workplace.    


Kim and Julie are college students at Bradley University and have been roommates in a dormitory on campus.  They are interested in moving off-campus; however, since they don’t own a vehicle, they would like to live within walking distance of the University, downtown, and other amenities like a coffee shop.


Dante is in his early 30s and is moving to Peoria to work as a Graphic Designer for Caterpillar. He doesn’t want to be far away from his downtown job, but is interested in becoming a part of a neighborhood where he can be involved in community activities as well as walk to nearby restaurants and bars.

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