Architects of a proposed 16-story apartment building in Champaign's Campustown shed more light last week on how the building's automated parking system would work.
Speaking to the Champaign Plan Commission, Megan Zack of Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture said cars will enter the building from Fourth Street, be scanned to determine their size, then be transported by elevator to parking decks on the building's second through fourth floors.
Cars will then travel by trolley down a central pathway and be moved into position. Cars will be parked three deep on each side of the pathway, she said.
"It's very tightly engineered. There will be only 4 to 6 inches between cars," Zack said.
"Machines park the cars. A human does not," added Lorrie Pearson, land development manager for the Champaign Planning Department.
The apartment project — known as HERE @ University of Illinois — would be built on the site of the IHOP restaurant and Campus Liquor at the northwest corner of Fourth and Green streets.
James W. Heffernan and James D. Letchinger are the managers of HERE Champaign, the Chicago-based company developing the project.
Their architect, Jim Plunkard, said the developers have $500 million of residential real estate projects in Chicago and the Midwest.
The Champaign project would be their "first big entry in the student housing market" and one that brings "a different perspective than in the past," he said.
As previously reported, the building would have 143 apartments on the sixth through 16th floors. Each apartment would have two levels, so the city is effectively considering the project as a 27-story building, counting the mezzanine levels as separate floors.
The first floor would have retail space available and perhaps a cafe on the corner. The fifth floor would have an indoor fitness center and a rooftop patio flanked on two sides by the apartment towers.
Not everyone's happy with the project, though — particularly the employees and patrons of IHOP, which has been at that location since 1974.
Mada Weyer, who has worked there off and on for 25 years, said the developers are pulling the restaurant "out from under us."
At the outset of the meeting, Plunkard said he'd be "sad to see the IHOP go."
When it was Weyer's turn to talk, she said, "Next month when you'll be sad, I won't be able to make my house payment."
She said the closing of IHOP would affect the campus and community.
"What happens at 2 in the morning when the bars close? We're the only place kids can come on campus to get something to eat and get coffee. They'll be getting in cars drunk and driving across town," she said.
Robert Michael Doyle, a regular patron of IHOP who lives two blocks away, said the tower — along with other high-rises built or proposed nearby — will "turn Green Street into an urban corridor" and create a wind tunnel there.
"I don't want to look at buildings looming over me," he said.
Two plan commission members — Brian DeMuynck and Leonard Heumann — said they didn't expect buildings of that scale when city planners were preparing for the redevelopment of Campustown.
"We say we want more of an urban feel along the street, but we have to be careful that quality of life will be there," Heumann said.
Commission Chair Paul Cole said the makeup of the campus community is changing, with more international students in town.
Many are "financially well-endowed graduate students who come from backgrounds where they expect certain amenities," he said.
Development projects that recognize those needs "are going to establish the foundation of the University of Illinois more solidly in our community," he said.
Further consideration of the HERE @ University of Illinois project is scheduled May 21 at a Champaign City Council meeting.
Speaking of towers ...
It's official: Gameday Spirit signed a lease last week for the first-floor space of the 14-story apartment building proposed for the southwest corner of Sixth and Green streets in Campustown.
The sports apparel store will occupy about 4,600 square feet when the project is complete. Occupancy is scheduled for Aug. 15, 2014, according to Bankier Apartments, which is developing the building.
Gameday Spirit, which currently occupies that corner, previously announced it will be moving to a temporary location at 616 E. Green St., C, as of June 1.
Coming to Danville
Anytime Fitness recently announced it's taking space in the Danville Crossing Shopping Center next to Dollar Tree.
The 4,500-square-foot co-ed fitness club is expected to open within 90 days, according to a release from owner Chris Dukes.
Anytime Fitness allows members to work out any time of the day or night. They use a security-access key to enter the club, even when it's not staffed.
Besides having strength training and cardiovascular equipment, Anytime Fitness has tanning and membership reciprocity among its more than 2,000 clubs in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.
More information about Anytime Fitness can be found at http://www.anytimefitness.com. To find out more about the Danville club, contact Chris Dukes at 407-319-1792.
New salon concept on way
Look for a new concept in hair salons to arrive in southwest Champaign in June.
Bryan Batstone and his wife, Lisa, plan to open The Salon House at 2918 Crossing Court, Suite D, near the corner of Duncan and Windsor roads, according to Richard Strom, who has been working with them.
The nearly 5,000-square-foot space would offer individual studios to beauty professionals — stylists, cosmetologists, estheticians — who can make the space their own and run their own businesses there, Strom said.
They can decorate their space as they like and be open the hours they want, he said.
"We started marketing to stylists within the last two to three weeks," Strom said last week. "We'll have a good complement of beauticians, stylists and nail techs signed up."
Strom said he and Bryan Batstone are from the United Kingdom, and Lisa Batstone grew up south of Chicago. Lisa has been a salon owner and hair and beauty educator, and Bryan has worked in the hair and beauty field.
Strom said the trio hopes to open a second location of The Salon House in Bloomington down the road and three more across Illinois after that.
Grand opening in Savoy
Timeless Treasures in Savoy is planning a grand opening May 17 with door prizes and refreshments, according to owner Dan Eastin of Tolono.
The store, which carries antiques, uniques and collectibles, is at 101 N. Dunlap Ave. For folks unacquainted with Savoy addresses, that's the northwest corner of U.S. 45 and Church Street.
The shop has 15 vendors who lease booth space.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The shop is closed Sundays and Mondays.
For more information, contact Eastin at 721-4346.
Crossroads Corner Consignment has expanded inside and out.
The shop, located in the Whiteline building at 723 S. Neil St., C, has leased 1,000 square feet of outdoor space on the southwest side of the building.
That space is used Friday through Sunday, weather permitting, with vendor and store items brought there just for those days, according to co-owner William Fleming.
The shop is also taking an additional 600 square feet just north of its existing shop, with the expectation of occupying that in early June.
That will give Crossroads a total of 3,500 square feet indoors, Fleming said.
New name, new location
Memories By Design has opened at 10 W. Third St., Danville, and has expanded its line of products and services, according to News-Gazette reporter Tracy Moss.
The business, owned by Cindy and Phil Stumph, was formerly known as StumphCo and was originally a laser engraving firm located in their basement.
Memories By Design still offers laser engraving, but it also uses heat transfer imprinting to put photos on various items, including wallets, cellphones, bookbinders, mugs, mouse pads and cozies.
"Our motto is, we are a little shop of amazing things," Cindy Stumph said.
Memories by Design recently purchased the awards and engraving department of Danville Paper and Supply. A longtime employee in that department, Sandy Bailey, now works with the Stumphs.
Memories by Design now offers custom laser, rotary and drag engraving in-house, and its product line includes plaques, awards, trophies, rubber stamps, banners, signs, flags and gifts.
Store hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Drive for women's shelters
Two Men and a Truck is conducting a "Movers for Moms" campaign to collect items, such as soap and shampoo, for women in shelters due to homelessness or domestic violence.
The campaign works with neighborhood schools and organizations — such as Carrie Busey Elementary, Devonshire KinderCare and Robeson Elementary locally — to collect the items.
Companywide, the program is expected to support more than 100 women's shelters, including the Center for Women in Transition in Champaign.
Other schools and organizations interested in supporting the Movers for Moms program can contact the Central Illinois franchise, owned by Dan and Rene Shunk, at 398-2636.
Clinic adds services
Dr. Peter O'Brien of O'Brien Chiropractic, Champaign, has added two new services.
One is inversion therapy, which uses one's body weight to provide traction to the back, relieving pressure on spinal discs and relaxing paraspinal muscles.
O'Brien has also added a heated water massage therapy table to provide stress relief and muscle relaxation.
Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227 or 800-252-3346; by email at email@example.com; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.