A block of Neil Street downtown to close Monday

A block of Neil Street downtown to close Monday

CHAMPAIGN — Driving south through downtown Champaign will take longer than usual next week.

A one-block stretch of Neil Street will be closed for a week starting on Monday.

Neil will be closed between Church Street and Park Avenue for sewer work and to add a manhole, both related to the hotel project proposed at the site of the former Metropolitan Building.

The street will be closed starting Monday morning and is expected to reopen at 4:30 p.m. July 27, weather permitting. All businesses are expected to remain open, and the intersection of Neil and Park will remain open.

"We chose that week because it's a week with very little happening," said Eleanor Blackmon, assistant city engineer for Champaign.

The work will involve installing a larger sewer line from Neil Street to the west, in the alley between Boltini and the hotel site, and replacing the manhole where that line connects to a Neil Street sewer line, said Blackmon.

The city had not scheduled the sewer work along the line to the west, but had planned for an upgrade there. The hotel work means "it's the time to do it," said Blackmon.

"With the hotel coming in, we didn't want to be digging in the alley," she said. "The coming of the hotel had us get that sewer scheduled."

Hans Grotelueschen has proposed developing a Hyatt Place hotel at the southwest corner of Neil and Church streets, where the nearly complete renovations of the Metropolitan Building and an adjacent law office building were destroyed by a fire in 2008.

The city has received an application for a demolition permit for the building to the west, 115 W. Church St., which is planned to be part of the hotel site. No applications for building permits have been filed yet.