Office park, apartment projects taking shape on North Prospect

Office park, apartment projects taking shape on North Prospect

CHAMPAIGN – As the city expands northward to Olympian Drive, more projects are popping up along the far reaches of North Prospect Avenue.

This spring, people began moving into the Ashland Park subdivision on the east side of Prospect.

Now it's time for the west side of Prospect to flourish. Already, two major projects are taking shape. Just north of Interstate Drive, a 200-unit apartment community called Watersedge Apartments is going up. Farther north, the first buildings in the Pinehurst Commons office park are under construction.

"We've long had an eye on the Champaign market," said Bruce Whitham, one of the Indianapolis-based partners developing Watersedge.

Whitham and his business partner, Mark Englert, teamed with Kendall Construction of Indianapolis to develop Watersedge, which was initially called "The Reserve at Stamey Farm" after the family that owned the farmland.

It's the fifth such project for Englert and Whitham, who have developed three apartment communities in the Indianapolis area and are completing another in Evansville, Ind.

Whitham said Watersedge will consist of 12 16-unit buildings and a 12-unit building surrounding three small retention lakes. The 15-acre community will have a full-service clubhouse, as well as a business center, pool, exercise facility and offices. Residents can also choose to have an attached or detached garage.

"We're targeting an upscale community to encompass young professionals and people who want flexibility, regardless of age – residents who don't want the upkeep that comes with ownership of homes," Whitham said.

"We expect some university component as well, whether it be faculty or staff or graduate students ... but we're not marketing the community for students."

Watersedge will have one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment units in two-story buildings. None of the buildings will have "back-to-back" units, so people living in a building that runs east and west, for example, will have both northern and southern exposures.

Rents will be from $695 to $725 a month for one-bedroom units, from $825 to $850 for two-bedroom units and $995 for a three-bedroom unit, Whitham said.

Whitham said units should be available for lease about Nov. 1.

"We broke ground in March and generally anticipated that if the weather was excellent, we'd have the initial building available for lease in six to seven months," he said. "We have about a 15-month target for conclusion, so we should be finished by late summer next year."

Farther to the north, the Atkins Group is developing the Pinehurst Commons office park, which occupies 40 acres near the corner of Prospect Avenue and Olympian Drive.

Two 4,800-square-foot buildings are already under construction in the park, according to Mark Dixon, director of real estate for the Atkins Group. The buildings are positioned on a ring road, Big Pine Trail, that circles a lake.

Big Pine Trail exits onto the northern extension of Boardwalk Drive and will eventually exit south onto Newton Drive, Dixon said.

The project, in some respects, is similar to the Stone Creek Commons office park that the Atkins Group developed in southeast Urbana.

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