Champaign council OKs new development deal with UI Research Park

Champaign council OKs new development deal with UI Research Park

CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois Research Park will be getting additional tax money back from the city of Champaign in connection with a planned development to be built south of the I Hotel and Conference Center.

On Tuesday night, the Champaign City Council voted 9-0 to approve a development agreement with the research park.

An existing agreement would have expired in 2020. The new agreement extends city incentives to the research park until 2022.

In short, the agreement returns a portion of three kinds of taxes collected by the I Hotel to the research park, including:

— Five percent of the hotel-motel taxes collected by the I Hotel and its operations. While the city recently boosted its hotel-motel tax up to 7 percent, only the original 5 percent tax would be reimbursed.

— An amount equal to the food and beverage taxes collected by the I Hotel and a planned mixed-use restaurant, retail and/or office space building scheduled to be developed immediately south of the I Hotel.

— The city's portion of the I Hotel's property taxes, following the expiration of any applicable enterprise zone benefits.

"I think the research park has been a tremendous economic engine for both the city of Champaign and the community," said Mayor Deb Frank Feinen. "Continuing to support the research park is in everyone's best interest."

University of Illinois Research Park Director Laura Frerichs said construction of the mixed-use development will start next month and be completed by November.

"It's a 60,000-square-foot building," she said. "The first floor will have retail space facing First Street. A lot of the clients would like more restaurant or retail options."

She said the upper two floors will host office space. Brunswick Corp. has already announced it is leasing space, Frerichs said, and an ag-tech company will soon make an announcement about leasing space there.

Frerichs said a portion of the reimbursed money will also support Technology Development and Fabrication Center No. 4 behind the conference center.