Developer proposes student apartments on University
URBANA — A Florida developer has resurrected plans for a student apartment complex on the north side of University Avenue in Urbana.
The Bainbridge Cos. plan to build the five-story,197-unit complex with beds for 510 students in the 1000 block of West University Avenue.
The apartments would be situated behind Hot Wok Express and the recently closed Cocina Real restaurant — and also on the site of the strip center just to the east that once housed Illinois Department of Employment Security offices.
Tom Carrino, Urbana's economic development manager, estimated the total cost of the project at more than $30 million.
The project includes a seven-level, 401-space parking deck on North Goodwin Avenue, just north of the Durst Cycle & Fitness building.
The complex would also have about 2,000 square feet of retail space along University Avenue, with a 14-space parking lot for retail customers.
In late 2007, another real estate company, Dallas-based Trammell Crow, announced plans to build a 161-unit apartment complex on the same site.
But financing for that project was derailed as a result of the 2008 economic crisis, Carrino said.
The new project is different from the initial one in some respects, with less retail space planned and the addition of the parking deck, he said.
As proposed, the Bainbridge apartment complex would include 70 four-bedroom units, 103 two-bedroom units and 24 one-bedroom units.
The driveway from University Avenue would be flanked by retail space on the left, a leasing office on the right and student amenities — such as a fitness room, club room, lounge and rooftop terrace — overhead.
The driveway would lead to the parking lot for retail customers.
Residents with cars, however, would enter the complex from Goodwin Avenue, driving into the parking deck, then walking to the adjacent apartments.
The Urbana Plan Commission has recommended a special use permit for the project, and the Urbana Zoning Board of Appeals will consider requests for variances for setbacks Sept. 19. The city council is slated to consider the special use permit Oct. 15.
The Bainbridge Cos., based in Wellington, Fla., own, develop and manage multifamily apartment communities in the eastern United States, primarily Florida, Maryland and Virginia.
The senior development director for Bainbridge, Michael Augustine, declined comment on the project — including the timetable, cost and even the name — saying it was company policy not to comment on projects "going through the political approval process."