Owners make plans for downtown building

Owners make plans for downtown building

CHAMPAIGN — The recent purchasers of the former Chicago Title Insurance building in downtown Champaign say they're considering building a five-story apartment building on the site.

Carlos Nieto and Hans Grotelueschen bought the building at 201 N. Neil St., C, this summer after Chicago Title announced plans to move its offices a block north to the third floor of the M2 on Neil building.

Nieto told The News-Gazette on Thursday that in the short term, he and Grotelueschen plan to build model hotel rooms in the Chicago Title building. Those rooms will help show subcontractors on the Hyatt Place hotel project what the completed rooms should look like, he said.

The Hyatt Place hotel is to be built on that same block — at the southwest corner of Church and Neil streets. The nine-story hotel, in which Nieto and Grotelueschen are investors, is planned to have 145 rooms. It is expected to open sometime in the second half of 2013.

But once there's no longer a need for the sample rooms, Nieto said, plans call for tearing down the Chicago Title building and replacing it with a five-story building that would have 24 two-bedroom apartments on the top four floors.

The first floor of the apartment building would be reserved for commercial use. Nieto said it's possible that part of the first floor would be used for offices, while the other part — near the corner of Neil Street and Park Avenue — could accommodate retail use, possibly a restaurant.

"It would be the first new apartment building to go up in downtown Champaign in some time," Nieto said.

He said it's likely the apartments would be targeted toward graduate students and non-students.

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