CHAMPAIGN — A 16-story apartment building has been proposed for the northwest corner of Fourth and Green streets in Campustown — where an IHOP restaurant and convenience store now stand.
The project, proposed by developer HERE Champaign LLC, would include ground-floor retail space, parking on the second through fourth floors, a fitness room and outdoor patio on the fifth floor and 143 apartments on the sixth through 16th floors.
But the stand-out feature would be the automated parking system proposed for the building.
Cars would enter the garage from Fourth Street, then be moved by elevators to "parking vaults" on the second, third and fourth floors where drivers would not be allowed.
There would be no parking ramps, less space between cars because the car doors don't open, and less ceiling height because people don't need to walk on those floors, developers say.
HERE, based in Chicago, said the automated parking system — which would accommodate at least 254 vehicles — is "associated with progressive leading cities of the world" and provides car owners with a "differentiated and desirable valet-like user experience."
The giant glass and metal-panel building would be the approximate height of the 24-story apartment building on the south side of Green Street, even though the HERE building has fewer stories.
That's because HERE's residential floors would have greater ceiling heights. According to HERE, the apartments would feature an 18-foot-high great room "creating an urban loft feel with abundant natural light."
The building would offer two- and four-bedroom units, having a total of 528 beds. Each unit would be equipped with a kitchen, washer and dryer.
Lorrie Pearson of the city’s Planning Department said the city will consider the HERE building — given its height — as 27 stories, counting each of the mezzanine levels in the apartments as separate floors. HERE said the building is expected to be built to LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — Gold standards specified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
A public hearing for the planned development is scheduled for 4 p.m. May 1 in the Champaign City Council chambers.
The timetable calls for consideration by the plan commission May 15 and the city council June 4. Developers said they want to break ground in October of this year and get an occupancy permit in May 2015.
The preliminary concept calls for a ground-floor cafe looking onto the Fourth and Green intersection, with retail space to the west, facing Green Street.
The rooftop patio on the fifth floor would be on the northwest side of the building, with the L-shaped residential tower overlooking it from the south and east.
This project is the latest in a series of multi-story apartment building projects announced for Campustown:
— A five-story, 52-unit apartment building is going up at Second and Green streets — the former site of Garcia's Pizza-in-a-Pan and the White Horse Inn.
— Bankier Apartments recently announced plans for a 14-story apartment building on the southwest corner of Sixth and Green streets — where Gameday Spirit, Hair Benders and Beri Frozen Yogurt & Roll Model now operate.
— Also on tap in Campustown is JSM Development's hotel and apartment project on the site of Lot J situated near the northwest corner of Sixth and Green streets. That project would consist of two 12-story towers, including a 108-room Marriott TownePlace Suites hotel designed for long-term stays.