It's Your Business: Wendy's coming to Neil, Five Points

It's Your Business: Wendy's coming to Neil, Five Points

Wendy's plans to open a new restaurant on South Neil Street in Champaign as part of the Carriage Center redevelopment project.

"We're anticipating an opening in late November," said franchisee Mike Allegro, who already has local stores on Sixth Street in Champaign's Campustown and in the Illini Union.

He's also preparing to open a store next month on Cunningham Avenue near University Avenue in Urbana.

"We think Champaign is a good market for Wendy's, and Neil Street has enough traffic to support a store like ours," Allegro said. He noted that a Wendy's restaurant once stood where the Atlanta Bread Company store on South Neil now stands.

The Wendy's on South Neil will be just to the south of the new entrance to Carriage Center from Neil. The restaurant will occupy the southern part of a 5,600-square-foot building.

"We'll take 3,400 square feet of that, and the adjacent space will be leased out to a hand-selected tenant," Allegro said.

The new store will have four full-time managers and probably 35 to 40 crew members — about the same size staff as what the Urbana Wendy's will have, Allegro said.

Altogether, Allegro has 21 Wendy's locations open in northeastern Illinois, with the Illini Union location having joined the ranks in December.

Allegro indicated his expansion in the Champaign-Urbana area may continue.

"If we find more locations that fit our business model, we'll definitely build more," he said.

Anyone who has driven past the Carriage Center site in the past few weeks has seen a lot of terrain change. The old Worden Martin and Ford City Ford-Lincoln buildings have been demolished in preparation for the new development to come.

That includes a County Market supermarket and an Ace Hardware store as anchors for the development, with a 107-suite Home2 Suites by Hilton extended-stay hotel at the north end of the property. A Brixx wood-fired pizza restaurant will go up at the northwest corner of Neil Street and Devonshire Drive, and a gas station/convenience store will also be part of the Carriage Center project.

Neil and Green

For the last couple decades, a mini-park has graced the southeast corner of Neil and Green streets in Champaign, framed by two buildings that once housed the operations of Frasca International.

Now those buildings are about to be redeveloped into a commercial plaza known as Green Street Galleria, with the mini-park giving way to a parking lot.

Developers Scott Cochrane and Chris Saunders have acquired the properties at 604-606 S. Neil St., C, from the Frasca family and are planning an entirely new, "contemporary" look for the buildings.

"We wanted to do something special, since that's the entryway to campus," Cochrane said.

The two-story building to the south will have retail space on the first floor and four apartments upstairs, said Tim Harrington of Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty, which is marketing the commercial center. That building could probably accommodate one restaurant as well as several retail tenants.

The single-story building to the north is also being marketed for retail use.

Harrington said work on the project could start in the next 30 to 45 days and be completed by the end of summer.

Meanwhile, at Royal Plaza ...

Piccadilly Beverage Shop has signs on its windows announcing a "closing sale" at its Royal Plaza location, 505 S. Neil St., C. The space, which includes 7,000 square feet of retail and 2,600 square feet of storage, is being advertised for lease.

Meanwhile, the owners of Royal Plaza are contemplating a renovation — and possibly a rebranding — of the 30,000-square-foot retail center on Healey Street between Neil and Randolph streets in Champaign, according to Zach Wetherell of Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty.

Wetherell said the owners are considering as many as seven options for facade changes. There's no established timetable for the renovation, but the soonest it would take place is this fall, he said.

The center's tenants include: the Golden Harbor restaurant, Jodi Albert and Associates optometrists, Annapoorna Stores, Chang's Oriental Mart, MicroSystems International, The School Station educational resources, Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Revolt Tattoo Studio,Charm Beauty and Fashion and K-N Karaoke.

Tattoo Central

The owners of the Vision World tattoo parlor in Urbana and Mark of Cain Tattoos in Champaign are combining forces to open Champaign Tattoo on June 2.

Champaign Tattoo will be located at 1410 N. Neil St., C, in the building just south of Herriott's Rents-Tents-Events.

Ray Hughes, the owner of Vision World, said he and Nick Wiggins of Mark of Cain will each have his own area in the new location, as will Hughes' son, Ray Allen.

Each of the areas will have windows so visitors "can view the artist working, but clients can have an uninterrupted process," he said.

Hughes said the new spot will be 1,800 square feet — three times the size of his current location at 104 W. University Ave., U.

The new location will give the artists more space — and also provide a dedicated room where photos can be taken of work that's been completed.

Both Vision World and Mark of Cain have been in business since 1993. Wiggins said he no longer wanted to be a shop owner and welcomed Hughes' suggestion that they work together.

"Our motivation is to present a shop that has no limitations on what we're able to do," Wiggins said. "The concept is to present tattooing as an art form. I try to push the idea that anything that is possible on paper or canvas is possible on skin."

Wiggins said Mark of Cain started at 207 W. Green St., C, then moved to the first floor of Park Place Tower, 202 E. Green St., C, in 2003 before relocating to its current site at 204 W. Springfield Ave., C, in 2011. Vision World has been at the Urbana site since its start.

Hughes said hours for Champaign Tattoo will most likely be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store will use both the current phone numbers, 328-7131 and 355-3876.

Dandelion at Crossroads

Crossroads Corner Consignment on June 8 will launch a weeklong boutique featuring vintage clothing from Dandelion and vintage Illini merchandise and sports-related items from two other vendors. The weeklong boutique is tied to Father's Day, which falls on June 15 this year.

Crossroads Corner, located in the Whiteline building at 723 S. Neil St., C, will open its north store early on June 8, with a free breakfast from 10 a.m. to noon that day served by PekaraBakery.

The first 100 people attending will receive $10 off a $50 purchase in the north store, said William Fleming, co-owner of Crossroads Corner Consignment. About 300 square feet will be devoted to the boutique, which will sell fedoras, shoes, wallets and other merchandise.

On June 14, Crossroads Consignment will hold an outdoor market from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the parking lot of Bacon & Van Buskirk, just across William Street from the Whiteline building. The market is expected to include about 50 vendors. It will be the second outdoor market for the store, the first of which was held May 10. Other outdoor markets are planned July 12, Aug. 9 and Sept. 13.

Salon ends 10-year run

Bella Capelli hair salon, 1401 S. State St., C, closed April 30 after 10 years in business, salon owner Cooky McLeod said.

McLeod and three of the salon's seven stylists — Jackie Langendorf, Kim Mapes and Aly McDuff — moved to the Limited Edition Hair Studio in Savoy. Bart Rickett moved to Ruth's Salon in Champaign. Donna Bradley went to Wingard Salon in Champaign, and Debbie Wolfe went to the Adorn studio inside The Salon House in Champaign.

Math-writing center to open

Sterling Math & Writing plans to open June 16 in Suite E of 2110 N. Market St., C — just behind and across the road from Office Depot.

The center will offer a summer math enrichment program, and students can sign up for morning or afternoon sessions a week at a time.

The center is operated by Joe Glass III, a fourth-grade teacher at Yankee Ridge School in Urbana, and his wife, Kelly Glass, a managing editor at Human Kinetics in Champaign.

Beyond summer, Sterling plans to offer an individualized, math-focused after-school program.

More information about the center is available at its website, The center's phone number is 480-6572.

Stable starts youth camps

Westbrook Stable, on Mahomet's northwest side, is offering summer youth camps for the first time, according to stable manager Zakk Tompkins.

The camps will be June 11-12, July 23-24 and Aug. 14-15, with morning and afternoon groups available. The camps are open to children 5 to 12 years old.

Also this year, Tompkins said, the stable is fielding a rodeo team that will travel to youth rodeos.

The stable is at 907 N. Westbrook Drive, Mahomet. To reach it, take U.S. 150 west to Turkey Farm Road, turn north on Turkey Farm Road, then west on Westbrook Drive ( just before the bridge over Interstate 74).

More information is available at or by calling 493-7151.

Saturday series of dinners

The Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant at the Channing-Murray Foundation, 1209 W. Oregon St., U, will host a series of Saturday evening vegan dinners, beginning May 31 and continuing through the summer.

They're called the "Farm to (Turn)Table Dinners" because the produce comes from area farms, and participants are invited to bring vinyl records that will be played on a turntable.

The dinners run from 5 to 8 p.m., and the price is $10 a plate, according to the Farm to (Turn)Table Dinners' Facebook page.

Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227; by email at; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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alabaster jones 71 wrote on May 19, 2014 at 11:05 pm
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Oh boy!  Practically the only green space on Neil for a good couple of miles in either direction is being taken away.  And not even for an actual structure, but for another parking lot!  Another big ass parking lot, when there already are three absurdly oversized parking lots within a block that are 95% empty at nearly all times (the one across the street at CVS, the one a block to the north at Royal Plaza.....and, the worst offender of all, the one a block to the south at Parkhill Plaza, which usually has more abandoned RVs parked in it than actual customers patronizing the businesses there).

C-U has a weird discrepancy between their standards for residential areas and for business areas.  They seem to place an importance on making sure the residential areas have a pleasant amount of green space, trees, etc.  However, nobody seems to be concerned that several of the main arterial roads in town are hideous concrete wastelands with an insane amount of comically oversized billlboards and parking lots, and next to no trees or grass.

Those Frasca buildings are great for a restaurant, huh?  So is the vacant Quiznos/Kaleidoscoops spot a block to the south.  The soon to be vacant Picadilly space a block to the north has plenty of space for one, as well.  But no, let's create more retail space instead of filling all of the empty retail space that we already have.

randallkrause wrote on June 17, 2015 at 7:06 pm

I'll admit that South Neil St. is a concrete jungle, even moreso with the construction of this new mixed use complex at Green St. It's not a particularly pedestrian-friendly corridor with narrow, disjointed sidewalks abutting a five lane highway. There's few if any greenspaces, except for McCollum Park. Perhaps city planners, IDOT, and the Park District could coordinate with some of these developers on streetscape improvement initiatives.