Partner: Businessman's legacy will go on after fatal crash
CHAMPAIGN — James Burch's business partner says his legacy will continue after the prominent Champaign real estate agent and developer died Thursday following an accident at Market Place Mall.
Mr. Burch, 66, was pronounced dead Thursday evening after the vehicle he was driving hit a van in the mall parking lot, according to Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup.
Champaign police and the coroner are investigating the accident.
Mr. Burch, of Burch-Kiser Real Estate, had been operating in the Champaign-Urbana real estate market for more than 32 years. Mr. Burch developed the high-profile Five Points shopping center with Paul Tatman at the intersection of North Cunningham and University avenues in Urbana.
"Jim was a very hard working, very smart businessman," said John Kiser, a partner who manages the real estate business. "He had a very good thinking pattern and was a master at putting deals together. He was a great guy to work with for all those years."
Mr. Burch was also the real estate agent for what was formerly the Chancellor Hotel property at the corner of Neil Street and Kirby Avenue in Champaign. That site eventually became a Walgreens store and a Hilton Garden Inn hotel.
"He's got a variety of different holdings and has owned a lot of stuff over the years," Kiser said.
Kiser said Mr. Burch had turned over most of the management duties to Kiser after Mr. Burch began experiencing health issues in recent years. Kiser said the business will continue.