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City officials look on as demolition begins on the Apple Tree Inn in February 2016 in Murphysboro. The site is the future home of a planned development that includes a Holiday Inn Express.

MURPHYSBORO — Over the past few days, workers appear to have been clearing away soil at the site of the new commercial development planned for the Illinois 13 and Illinois 127 intersection in east Murphysboro.

The city's mayor said the work was soil remediation work, but he was not clear what impact the work was going to have on future development. The project's developer, Columbia businessman Joe Koppeis, was unavailable for comment, a staffer in his office said.

It was two summers ago that Koppeis purchased the property, intending to convert it into a commercial retail space.

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Developer Joe Koppeis discusses his plans for the redevelopment of the former site of the Apple Tree Inn in Murphysboro prior to the start of demolition on the building in February 2016.

Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens said Koppeis plans to hang a sign from a semitrailer bed at the site, this one announcing the future development of a Holiday Inn Express hotel. A sign hanging off the semitrailer bed now reads "Lots Available For Sale or Lease."

In addition to constructing a Holiday Inn Express on site, Koppeis has said he plans to develop a convenience store, a gas station and at least two fast-food restaurants on the 30-acre site.

The city has also created a Tax Increment Financing district that will also allow certain tax incentives for businesses established there.

Stephens said Koppeis has said he plans to build up part of the low-lying land in that area.

He has also commissioned a local artisan to create a statue of a Big Muddy Monster for the area.

stephanie.esters@thesouthern.com

618-351-5805

On Twitter: @scribeest

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Reporter

Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

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