PEORIA — OSF HealthCare has purchased the long-vacant Cub Foods building in MidTown Plaza and will relocate some medical practices there starting next year.

Some 150 employees will work out of the East Bluff facility when it's complete, officials said, including about 50 physicians or advanced practice nurses.

"It'll be quite a full building with a lot going on," said OSF HealthCare Vice President of Ambulatory Development and Integration Tracy Pogue.

OSF purchased the facility for $3.5 million in a transaction that closed last week. The deal had been in the works for several months.

About $11.7 million of work will be done to renovate the 65,000 square foot building with the requisite infrastructure that will include some 130 exam rooms, Pogue said. The goal is to have the work done by the end of 2019.

The Cub Foods that had been located there closed in 2009 and has sat vacant since, to the consternation of many people in the neighborhood and in City Hall.

"I got goosebumps," East Bluff neighborhood advocate Willa Lucas said seconds after hearing the news that OSF had bought the building.

"The commitment of the organization to this part of town is huge," said 3rd District City Councilman Tim Riggenbach.

OSF decided on the space as "the right location and the right size," Pogue said, as well as through a desire "really to be good stewards of a building that was already there rather than constructing something new.

"We're very excited to partner with the neighborhood," she added.

Most of what will move to the new facility is located in the Allied Agencies building, 320 E. Armstrong Ave., on the main campus of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. That includes family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and pediatric specialty practices.

That building and another smaller one nearby are "in dire need of repair," Pogue said, and have aged out of their usefulness for the work that's being done there. Their future has not been determined.

The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria also has some teaching services in the Allied building, and Heartland Health Services offers adult care, pediatric care and women's health including ob-gyn services. OSF officials said both groups are expected to relocate to the Cub building as well.

The moves offer an opportunity to affect the neighborhood in a positive way, said Mike Cruz, OSF HealthCare's Central Region CEO and Chief Operating Officer.

He added that with the partnerships with UICOMP and Heartland, the services offered at the facility will benefit many residents in the area. 

Between the number of patients coming in and out daily, plus "the spending power of the employees who are going to work there ... that will just give a new life to that corner, I think," Riggenbach said.

The property sits in a tax-increment financing district, which was established with the development when Cub first located there. That status means that all additional tax revenue from growth in property values beyond the base level when it was established goes into a special account to benefit the area.

However, since Cub closed, values there have declined. The parcel, according to county tax records, paid just over $131,000 in property taxes for 2009, the year Cub closed. It paid $96,828.76 in property taxes this year.

Because OSF HealthCare is a not-for-profit entity, it is tax-exempt and will not pay property taxes on the parcel.

Chris Kaergard is Associate Editor at the Journal Star. He can be reached at ckaergard@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.