The following is a Q&A with Kellie Schmidt, marketing manager for Cullinan Properties Ltd., the master developer of the Levee District in downtown East Peoria.

The following is a Q&A with Kellie Schmidt, marketing manager for Cullinan Properties Ltd., the master developer of the Levee District in downtown East Peoria.

Q: What are the latest stores that have opened and when did they open?

• Panda Express opened in late January

• Shoe Dept. Encore and Diva Nails opened in March.

• Carters and Lane Bryant opened in early May.

Q: What kind of stores are they?

• Panda Express is a fast casual restaurant chain serving American Chinese styled cuisine. Fast casual restaurants are the fastest growing category of dining in the United States, with Panda Express ranking third in terms of growth in 2013.

• Shoe Dept. Encore is a member of the Shoe Show, Inc. family of companies which has 1,127 locations in 33 states. The store carries its own popular-price brands as well as Eastland, Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger, Hush Puppies, Rocky Boots, K-Swiss, Reebok, Nike, Keds and many others.

• Diva Nails is a locally owned nail spa.

• Carter’s is the leading brand of children’s clothing, gifts and accessories in America, selling more than 10 products for every child born in the U.S.

• Lane Bryant is the nation’s leading women’s curvy apparel retailer. The Lane Bryant collection includes a wide selection of career to casual apparel as well as accessories, footwear, hosiery and Cacique intimate 

apparel. Lane Bryant operates over 800 full-line and outlet stores in 48 states nationwide.

What is scheduled next to open and when?

• Crust, a locally-owned Italian restaurant, is anticipated to open in June.

• Chipotle and AT&T are tentatively scheduled to open in August.

• McDonald’s is anticipated to open mid-September.

Are there any more vacant spaces in the Levee District?

There is space remaining, as indicated by the leasing signs on the property, but it is limited! With many of the restaurants and retailers we are working with, we are under confidentiality agreements and not at liberty to discuss specific details about who may be joining the center in the future. However, there are a lot of different concepts being negotiated at present. Our team is working hard to ensure that our center has the right mix of categories for all of our tenants. That requires balancing a lot of different variables. We look forward to working with the many interested prospects that want to want to participate in the phenomenal success of this project!

Are all of the stores and their opening dates and hours listed on the Levee District website?

The website is a great way for shoppers to stay current on what’s happening at the center. We work with our individual tenants to keep the information as accurate as possible. The store directory on links viewers to the tenant websites for more detailed information. We also offer a monthly eblast shoppers can subscribe to in order to stay current on new stores opening and any special promotions and events coming to The Levee District.

What have the businesses that have been there the longest been saying about customer traffic? Are they getting a steady flow? Are they satisfied?

We are very excited about the success of our existing retailers and the new interest the project has generated to date. As anticipated, The Levee District is drawing from a very wide radius consistent with projections. Additionally, we have a very strong following on our website and through social media and are delighted at the feedback we have received from the community through these channels.