Home‘A good move’: Bloomington welcomes announcement of first tenant to historic State Farm building | BusinessBusiness‘A good move’: Bloomington welcomes announcement of first tenant to historic State Farm building | Business

‘A good move’: Bloomington welcomes announcement of first tenant to historic State Farm building | Business

BLOOMINGTON – Downtown leaders are welcoming news that Keplr Vision, parent company of All About Eyes and a number of other optical providers, has signed a multi-year lease for the company’s new corporate headquarters at 112 E. Washington St., the original headquarters building of State Farm, in downtown building.

The building was bought in 2019 by Urban Equity Properties of Rockford, which announced plans to convert the building into high-end apartments.


Keplr Vision, parent company of All About Eyes, announced they will be moving the company’s new corporate headquarters to 112 E. Washington St., the former State Farm downtown building, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. The view of the building, owned by Urban Equity Properties of Rockford, is from the east at Withers Park.

“Obviously, we’re excited about this. It’s really great news,” said Mayor Tari Renner. “It also shows that the State Farm building will probably more mixed use than residential. But we’ll see how this unfolds. It means new jobs and economic opportunities downtown. Bringing more people downtown can only help us in many ways.”

According to a statement issued by Keplr, more than 100 Keplr team members will relocate to the building, consolidating its entire corporate workforce from its three current facilities. The top four floors will house Keplr’s executive team, business support services, and supply chain management departments, and the Atrium will be used to host various events and functions.

The company has the option to expand into an additional floor, as Keplr has projected it will hire at least 75 additional team members by the end of 2020.

“This was not really confirmed until a few days ago,” Renner said. “There are other businesses interested in becoming tenants of the building but I can’t talk about them,” the mayor added. “I don’t want to be in a situation of messing up a potential deal if investors want to remain anonymous while they are negotiating.”

Keplr Vision choosing downtown Bloomington as its home for its corporate office speaks volumes to why preservation of historic buildings is crucial for areas such as Bloomington and Normal, said Greg Koos, executive director of McLean County Museum of History, 200 N. Main St.


The historic view of downtown Bloomington took a step forward as Keplr Vision, parent company of All About Eyes, announced they will be moving the company’s corporate headquarters to 112 E. Washington St., the former State Farm downtown building, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. The view of the building, owned by Urban Equity Properties of Rockford, is from the Castle Theatre, from the east.

“I think that it demonstrates that well-preserved old buildings have a high value for our community and that the work that Urban Equity Partners (which owns) the building, working with Keplr Vision, is a boost for Blooming-Normal and McLean County,” he said. “It’s evidence that the creative corporate community values places like Bloomington-Normal and values buildings like the State Farm building. We are fortunate that State Farm was able to make this project possible and working with Urban Equities — that is a win.”

While the announcement is a change from the luxury apartments Urban Equity Properties proposed in September, Koos said it is in line with the building’s history.

“This is the kind of thing that stimulates other kind of projects,” he said.

Vicki Tilton, president of Friends of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts and owner of Fox & Hounds Hair Studio and Day Salon, 200 W. Monroe St., said she is excited to welcome Keplr Vision to downtown Bloomington. Tilton was a huge supporter in the preservation of the former State Farm building, and was glad to see a tenant sign an agreement to move in.

“We’re excited about the building, we’re excited about the tenants coming,” said Tilton. “Having revitalized buildings ourselves, my husband and I, we both feel that diversifying your tenant base is a very smart thing to do.

“We feel competent that this is a good move.”

Nick Williams, Keplr’s CEO and co-founder, said he was “thrilled” to announce the move because “I know how much it means to the people of Bloomington to see the State Farm building come back to life.

Urban Equity Properties’ founding principal Justin Fern said the move is “a game-changer for downtown Bloomington.”


Proposals to turn the former downtown Bloomington State Farm office building into a public library have raised eyebrows as citizen groups and officials debate whether the building is a suitable option. For now, that option is off the table after State Farm announced Friday it may have found a buyer for the site. 

Listed as a contributing property to the National Register of Historic Places, construction began on the 13-story art deco building in 1929 and continued through 1945. Encompassing much of downtown Bloomington, it served as the corporate headquarters for State Farm until 1974. 

Keplr Vision began in Bloomington in 2005, with a single All About Eyes practice located on Veterans Parkway and Washington Street. The brand quickly grew to over 20 practices throughout Illinois and Iowa, and in 2017, with the backing of Imperial Capital Group of Toronto, Canada, began partnering with independent optometry practices across the United States. Keplr Vision has already partnered with more than 140 optometric practices.


Traffic passes the former State Farm headquarters building along North East Street in downtown Bloomington.

The company also employs over 80 teammates at Identity Optical, an independent lens lab and eyeglass manufacturing facility located in Normal.

10 photos of the downtown State Farm building 

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