Main Street Abbey development progressing - Republic-Times | News

Main Street Abbey development progressing

By on April 11, 2018 at 2:09 pm

This graphic shows the locations of buildings in the Main Street Abbey development, as well as their intended uses and planned parking and greenspace. (submitted photos)


Excitement abounds at the Main Street Abbey development, which involves significant renovations to the former Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish property in downtown Columbia.

Developer Gregg Crawford has put years of planning into turning the grounds into an epicenter for economic growth. With the completion of a café and hair salon in the former church convent, that planning is paying off.

Pictured is owner Marcia Brooks inside her coffee shop Café on the Abbey.

But an even bigger part of the project is the event space in the former church building known as The Abbey, and it’s nearing completion.

To add another layer of excitement, the same Columbia man behind a hugely successful nonprofit organization supporting combat veterans will serve as the venue manager of the space. 

Songs4Soldiers founder Dustin Row of Columbia said he is thrilled to have this opportunity and is even putting in extra hours to ensure the project comes together in time.

“I’m here on weekends, but it doesn’t even phase me because I love it so much,” he explained.

As of now, Row is pushing for the hall — which can seat up to 220 people — to be completed at the end of the month. He said he would like to celebrate the finished product with a grand opening in June.

“I decided not to book my first wedding any earlier than August,” he added. “I want to get adjusted to the process and make sure the bartenders are acclimated before we jump into that.”

However, that hasn’t stopped Row from booking a total of about 20 events, most of which are weddings, as work continues to progress. Row also said the venue has had a lot of success drawing in clients from across the river.

“This seems to be attracting a lot of fun, creative couples,” he elaborated…>>>

Read the rest of this article in the April 11, 2018, issue of the Republic-Times newspaper.

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Sean McGowan

Sean is a die-hard Cubs fan, despite the relentless peer pressure coming from the rest of the Republic-Times staff. He and his wife, Jacqui, have been married for two years. Originally from the west suburbs of Chicago, Sean and his wife moved down to Normal to attend Illinois State University and stayed central Illinois residents for the past four years. email:sean@republictimes.net