Champaign OKs hotel deal; also approves step toward research park extension

Champaign OKs hotel deal; also approves step toward research park extension

CHAMPAIGN – The city council on Tuesday night green-lighted one of the first steps toward continuing development of the University of Illinois Research Park to the east.

A $4.9 million, state-funded project will allow officials to extend a network of roads to the east of First Street, including South Fourth Street from St. Mary's Road to Windsor Road. City council members unanimously signed off on the project.

Construction was to be funded with just over $6 million with money from the state's capital program, Illinois Jobs Now!. Project bids came in about 35 percent under an engineer's estimate, which leaves more than $1 million to fund other Research Park capital projects.

City officials say the University of Illinois is drafting a list of projects for which that extra state money might be used.

In other business, the city council formally approved a seven-year, $3 million tax rebate program for a proposed downtown hotel. The hotel, scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2013, will be located at the corner of Church and Neil streets, where a 2008 fire destroyed the historic Metropolitan Building.

City officials believe developing that corner will strengthen the downtown area's business climate. The agreement give administrators the authority to rebate up to $3 million in tax revenue the hotel business generates in its first seven years.

“There is so much value in us getting rid of that hole,” said council member Tom Bruno. “That is worth so much to us, that that alone is worth the investment to the city.”

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chuckles wrote on May 02, 2012 at 6:05 am

What a bonus for Champaign, two growth area's separated by a thriving campus.  I come from Rockford and lived in Peoria and Bloomington. Their downtown area's are BAD. Oh yea, what about Urbana?  Chuckles, socially responsible and fiscally sound.

sameeker wrote on May 02, 2012 at 12:05 pm

"City officials say the University of Illinois is drafting a list of projects for which that extra state money might be used."

Just use up every dime. After all, it is only tax money. They can hand out all of this corporate welfare; however, the state is way behind in paying their bills.

It is funny that on the stories regarding this issue, the capta system makes posters go through several redundant steps to post. It is also worth noting that with all of the comments against this corporate welfare posted, the city council decided to ignore them and pass it anyway. Where is my check?

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 02, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I agree with you, sameseeker.  With the state's money problem; the money not needed could be put toward the state's bills.  The Champaign Park District is getting a new building with a state grant.  I am not saying that it is not needed; but is it essential at a time when services to the disabled, and elderly are being cut?  Need versus Want is what is needed.  The state is voiding it's contracts.  The state has not been paying the employer portion of the pension systems except for the Legislators, and Judges pension systems.  Now, the state is assisting corporations again.  The Build Illinois program is great when the state has money; but the state is supposedly broke.  The $31 Billion could have been put toward all of the state's debts; but it was not.  The reason why is because of "campaign donations".  The Association of Asphalters ( Bill Cellini, former "spokesman") will give legislators donations just like corporations, etc.  The Illinois debt problem is due to corruption.  Citizens, and municipalities are blinded by Wants versus Needs.  People want statues, and walking trails while their schools go without.  I saw the cool walking, and bicycle bridge north of Windsor Road, on Rt. 130 yesterday.  It goes from Windsor to the pizza place.