More downtown Urbana projects planned

More downtown Urbana projects planned

URBANA — Matt Cho, who already brought [co][lab] and Cafeteria & Company to downtown Urbana, is collaborating with other partners on more projects downtown.

He's working with Dustin Kelly and Chenxi Yu to bring new uses to the former Concept College of Cosmetology building at 129 N. Race St., U. That building is north of the Courier Cafe and across the street from Masijta Grill.

Their plan would create a variety of uses for the 5,000-square-foot ground floor space, including a cafe and possible wine bar, as well as a dance studio and photography studio and gallery. The 2,000-square-foot upstairs space would be used for an office tenant and "low-tech" incubator space. Cho said he hopes the tenants will be in place by year's end.

The Urbana City Council on Monday will consider a redevelopment agreement with Cho, Kelly and Yu of 129 North Race LLC, which bought the property last June.

A proposed floor plan for the building shows the cafe and wine bar up front, with pop-up retail space available behind the cafe. The dance studio and the photo studio and gallery would be toward the rear of the building.

The tentative time line calls for the photography studio/gallery to be in place in March or April, the dance studio in June or July, the cafe and wine bar in August and the low-tech incubator and start-up tenant during late 2015. Once everything's in place, it's expected the building will house 20 to 35 employees.

Cost estimates for the project are between $250,000 and $330,000. Under the redevelopment agreement, the city would provide developers with a line of credit up to $82,500. The loan would be forgiven once all provisions of the agreement are satisfied.

Separately, Cho said he's working with other investors on a new use for the Four Season Garage Sale building at 401 N. Broadway Ave., U, located just south of where the Boneyard Creek flows under Broadway Avenue.

Cho, who does not own the property, said he envisions an indoor market and brewery in the main 15,000-square-foot portion of the building, with a bakery occupying a 3,000-square-foot side building. The working title for the project is Broadway Market.

Cho opened [co][lab], a collaborative work space at 206 W. Main St., U, in 2013, and Cafeteria & Company — which houses Pizza M and Flying Machine Coffee — at 208 W. Main St., U. He plans to launch Air Urbana, an outdoor market and beer garden, in the space at 204 W. Main St., U. That building was recently torn down, but its storefront facade on Main Street was preserved.

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