You gotta love pluck, and new blood, and so a proposed downtown bar and restaurant emporium is a good thing. Dubbed The Public Market, the development in a vacant building at 322 East Adams Street would include at least five restaurants – think quick-serve as opposed to white table cloths – as well as a rooftop bar that would afford views of both the Old State Capitol and the dome now in use. The plan is to highlight Illinois products – wine, beers, food and somesuch. "We wouldn't be doing this anywhere but downtown," says David Lee, spokesman for the development group that recently purchased the building that was once a savings and loan. With 20,000 square feet, there's plenty of room. While the building has been acquired, financing to convert the space into restaurants and bars hasn't been finalized, and so it's not a done deal yet. But there is plenty of hope. Neither Lee nor his partners, who hope to open next summer, are usual suspects: None are experienced developers. "We're all Springfield people," Lee says. "This is something that's innovative and new." The property is within a district that's been pitched for redevelopment to bring a university presence to downtown. Ryan McCrady, CEO of the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance, a public-private economic development group, said the redevelopment plan remains in the conceptual stage, and is not specific to one property. "I can't see a development like this being a bad thing," he said.

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