Old Garcia's, White Horse Inn making room for apartments

Old Garcia's, White Horse Inn making room for apartments

CHAMPAIGN — A five-story, 52-unit apartment building is expected to replace the old White Horse Inn and Garcia's Pizza-in-a-Pan buildings on Green Street in Campustown.

Demolition began this week on the former White Horse Inn at 112 E. Green St., C, and workers say they also expect to demolish the old Garcia's building just to the west at 108 E. Green St., C.

No demolition permit was on file for the Garcia's building Wednesday, but Larry Happ, Champaign's building-safety supervisor, said a footings-and-foundation permit has been issued for the new building to be built on both sites.

The new development will change the face of Campustown along that part of Green Street and obliterate hangouts held dear in the memories of University of Illinois alumni.

The White Horse Inn, a cozy pub featuring burgers and more, was at that site from 1973 until July. A new version of the pub opened in August at 510 E. John St., C — this time with a menu featuring sausage.

The glass-paneled Garcia's building was constructed in 1976 and remodeled in 1983. The "Flying Tomato Brothers" operated that store, known for pizzas by the slice, until 2008. Today, Garcia's is located in west Champaign at 313 N. Mattis Ave.

Soon, the two sites on Green Street will be living quarters for students who want a deluxe apartment in the sky — alongside the eight-story Park Place apartment building just across Second Street.

The footings-and-foundation permit, approved this week, was issued to Broeren Russo Construction. Larson Real Estate LLC was listed as the property owner and KAP Architecture as the architect.

An estimated cost for the project won't be available until the building-permit application comes in.

This January is expected to be a much bigger month for building permits than most Januaries, Happ said.

The month's permits are expected to include one for the new Hyatt Place Hotel in downtown Champaign and one each for the new Ford City Ford-Lincoln and Illini Nissan auto dealerships on West Marketview Drive.

Altogether, there could be permits for an estimated $35 million worth of work, compared with $5 million for a typical January.

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jdmac44 wrote on January 10, 2013 at 9:01 am

I was just thinking about this week, "Those locations just don't work for businesses like that anymore...what will they put there?  Apartments."

I still miss the old Garcias, I wish they had closed that one first and kept the one on Wright though, I'm sure it would still be there if they did.  I loved playing video games there when I was a kid, eating up in the upper level or by the fire in more recent years when I walked from my job on campus to my apartment in the winter.  Great memories.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 10, 2013 at 9:01 am

The White Horse Inn was Cock's Pub until the early 70's.  Ruby Gulch, and Panama Red's came later on Green Street.  Steak n Shake, and the Red Lion were to the east closer to campus.  The Coed Theater was still open along with Smith's Drugstore also.  Times change; but memories remain.

wayward wrote on January 10, 2013 at 10:01 am

I have fond memories of Garcia's from the 80s and 90s, but wish they'd kept up their quality.  County Market @ 4th and Springfield almost seems to do a better job with their slices than their remaining store.

Ellen wrote on January 10, 2013 at 10:01 am

I will shed a tear or two when the building goes down. Garcia's was the place to be in the late 70's, early 80's. Lots of wonderful memories were made there and a lot more after leaving the building ;-) 

adams wrote on January 10, 2013 at 10:01 am

Mr Dodson, did you really just say "a deluxe apartment in the sky?" Are you really quoting The Jeffersons in a business article?


rsp wrote on January 10, 2013 at 10:01 am

I was sitting here reading trying to remember where I'd heard that before. That's what nostalgia does to you, quoting old sitcoms. 

jettexas wrote on January 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm

However much of an eye-sore the buildings that are being demolished posed for some citizens of C-U (and clearly the buildings evoked lots of fond memories for some readers), does anyone in C-U really imagine that the new "high-rise"--likely to be completely out of proportion with its surroundings--will look like anything other than another boringly designed structure for studentt-living, or that it won't look ugly and dated in ten years when, because of its monstrous size, we ALL will have to look at it?  At least the White Horse Inn and the Garcias buildings were small and modest structures that (alas) had been allowed to deteriorate. Again, the city works for a few developers (some of whom don't even live here) rather than for the future attractiveness of the city to its residents.  I would be happy to be proved wrong.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm

jettexas;  I do not disagree with you; but I am reminded of a Mark Twain quote regarding respectability.  "Even ugly architecture, and whores become respectable if they are around long enough."  Case in point the rusted, silo building located on John Street designed by Wally Rogers.  Wally went on to design the Hilton Forum Thirty in Springfield before he vacationed in Brazil.  I believe he is retired in a federally funded, assisted living facility now.

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm

What silo on John street?

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm

The one that held people as a hotel, later held a few businesses, later held U of I offices, and holds student apartments.  The phallic building that the fire department's cranes cannot evacuate people from the top floors.  It is right behind the old Red Lion.  At one time, it was the tallest building in C-U.  You must be new to the area. 

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm

You mean the University Inn? Or is that Huntington Towers?

I thought you literally meant a silo.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm

The University Inn; but I believe Wally was involved in both.  A few years later, I was in the Lamplighter with a friend when a U.S. Marshall started asking questions about Wally.  They had a tip that he was possibly back in town.  They had C-U staked out; but he didn't show up.

wayward wrote on January 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Ah yes, the Hilton Forum 30, frequently called "The Penis of the Prairie" by Springfield residents.

Ruth Ann wrote on January 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I remember when the Garcia's was Mr. Quick!!!! Mr. Quick had no seating, just indoor walk-up counter. Garcia's did a great job of putting on the addition out to the sidewalk with it's multiple levels and fire pit. A lot of history.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 am
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I like both of those buildings, but especially the Garcia's building. I jog by it every other day, and marvel that no one made it into a thriving business. Maybe it's the eyesore around it? Endless asphalt jungle?


Or was it a matter of unattainable health & sanitation codes?


I liked the White Horse for having a rooftop beer garden. Champaign-Urbana needs more quirky places. I fear everything will soon be the same size & shape, as the legislative-manufacturing complex makes non-uniformity impossible.

samlowry5611 wrote on January 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Some friends posted on Facebook pics of the Horse coming down for me ( after 40 years in CU we moved to Africa).  So I posted a scene from a movie shot in 73 where a group of mobsters walk past the White Horse and go into Mr. Quick, where they beat up a hippie.  The movie was "Shot". And the burger was 55 cents. Whute horse, the only bar I was ever thrown out of....

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

It could have been worse if it had been Mabel's. :)

carmelillini wrote on March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I have fond memories of two places mentioned above. Was a bartender in '75-76 at The White Horse. Hate the Steve Miller Band to this day after having to endure endless loop of  "Fly Like an Eagle" constantly on the jukebox. Crazy times when we had dollar martini and nickel hot dogs on the same night. Made for some rowdy brawls in the lower pit and a nasty *** parking lot the next morning. Best mushroom burger in town at the time though.

Sixteen of us were asked to leave a certain fraternity so we rented 4 apartments on the 16th floor in (at the time) Century 21 on John St. for a year. Great views but the best perk was the indoor pool in the basement. A great line at the bars on a snowy night in February "want to come back to our place and go swimming?". Worked every time. Only expense was bribing the night watchman.

Good times!