Thursday, August 11, 2005

Downtown Champaign Hotel Development

This isn't exactly the freshest story, but I've not seen it discussed at all, which surprised me.

The News-Gazette reported on July 27th about the proposal One Main Development is offering to the Champaign City Council in September. A 100 to 120 room hotel with retail and commercial space going under the name Two Church would be located on the block between Neil and Randolph streets and Church and Hill streets. The project has to be approved by the city, as it would be occupying two city owned parking lots as part of the site.

Cynthia E. Faullin, Director of Development at One Main, was on the WCIA Morning Show with Jennifer Hendricks about two weeks ago discussing the project as well. She noted that this building would be around 250,000 square feet in size (dwarfing the 134,000 sq. ft. One Main building), and that there would be 65 to 100 condominiums and a 400- to 500-vehicle parking deck built to offset the spaces that the new structure would occupy. Thankfully, the parking deck would be built first.

According to both Faullin and Cody Sokolski, the tentative timetable for the building project is to break ground next spring. Projected time to completion would be about a year. Investors in the project would be Sokolski, Mike Royse, Mary Ann Royse, the Nieto Group and Mike Kulas.

Any thoughts? I'm interested to see the eventual floor plan for this place. I'm also curious as to what businesses will occupy the retail, as the emphasis on One Main has been local businesses.

5 Comments:

At 5:07 PM, August 11, 2005, Blogger ms slam said...

You know, I'm on the fence about this right now. I think it could be a scary scary leap into the strip-malling of downtown Champaign. I'm one of those Champaign Boomerang people (staying a few years, leaving a few years, staying a few years, leaving, .....) but when I'm here I prefer to live close to the downtown. So far, the only thing I see happening with the great Downtown boom is more badly-behav ed drunk people and less parking.
IF Cody and company can be smart about the businesses they invite down there, it could be great. But when is the last time anybody talked about opening something down here besides a bar or a restaurant? Who's going to stay in a 150-room hotel any time besides Ebertfest? And if you say football/basketball/U of I people, do we really need the college sports crowd to stagger this way? Will they really want to be here? Are they going to appreciate the local flavor or are they just going to insist on finding a chain bar, chain restaurant, chain chain chain and Illini everything? Where will they park?
Now, if you want to talk about putting in a nice grocery/drug store I might be a little more exited.....

 
At 8:32 AM, August 12, 2005, Blogger Matthew said...

Greymatter: You're right that this was under-discussed, although it's worth point that local blogger "Old Guy" did a post about it on his blog when the story broke.

Ms. Slam: I couldn't agree more with what you've written, especially the last sentence. While I really am impressed with all of the businesses on the ground floor of One Main, it is still surprising that Cody & Co. didn't include a small grocery/drug store down there. If you're going to try and make downtown Champaign a residential community as well a commercial one, then a place to purchase food and what not would seem almost to fall into the 'need' category, not just a 'want.'

 
At 11:01 AM, August 12, 2005, Blogger Cynthia said...

A grocery store/drug store is something we're giving serious consideration to. We've crunched the numbers and believe it or not, there aren't the number of people living downtown yet to sustain such a business. However, with the construction of additional residential units in our new project, it may be more feasible.

 
At 2:03 PM, August 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's an Osco pharmacy like 5 blocks from downtown. I guess to me, downtown doesn't have to be entirely self-sufficient. There's plenty nearby to sate the needs of people living there. The strength is in differentiating the offerings (like Persimmon Grocery) in order to bring people in. You can get milk and eggs cheaper from places like wal-mart because of the bulk ordering. Little grocers aren't going to do enough business to be vital.

Another place to revitalize would be the hideous Jos. Kuhn building. That thing is a friggin eyesore. Rumor is that the property owner just doesn't take the interest needed to keep up the place. There are tons of spaces for offices or apartments up there, but it looks pretty dilapadated.

 
At 4:32 PM, August 12, 2005, Blogger jharris said...

Anonymous is right about the rumor. Dr. Youngerman owns Jos. Kuhn, along with a bunch of other buildings downtown. Basically, pick all the eyesores and it's 99.99 percent that Dr. Youngerman owns it. He's notorious for not putting a dime into any of his places, nor will he sell. He's about the biggest reason Downtown hasn't been able to redevelop faster and get more retail. Everyone's having to work around him.

 

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