Landmark Hotel broker says interest high as auction set to start

Landmark Hotel broker says interest high as auction set to start

URBANA — With less than a week to go, several potential buyers have expressed interest in bidding in the auction for the former Landmark Hotel.

The auction begins Monday morning and runs through Dec. 13 on, an eBay of sorts for commercial real estate.

The property's broker, Steve Post of California-based Amber Hotel Company, said, "Interest has been high."

Property tours have been given, and he said the interest has come from both local and non-local potential buyers.

To participate in the auction, bidders need to have an account on and to pledge a $10,000 refundable deposit.

"If they're the winning bidder, that'll be applied to the price," Post said.

When the auction was announced, the minimum bid was $350,000. It has since risen to $1.2 million. Post said he wasn't sure why it had risen.

In addition to the minimum bid, the property's owner, Xiao Jin Yuan, has a reserve price that needs to be met that the bidders won't know.

"If the reserve is met, like in most auctions, the seller is committed to selling," Post said.

Once the auction is over, Yuan will know who the buyer is, but the sale won't finalize until later.

"It would close escrow 30 to 45 days after the auction concludes," Post said.

The city of Urbana has also received interest in the property.

The city has been seeking ideas to transform the entire nine square blocks that include the former hotel, Lincoln Square mall and several public parking lots.

"We're aware of multiple parties that have expressed interest," said Brandon Boys, Urbana's economic development manager. "I am personally aware of six different (potential) bidders that have contacted us."

"I think that's a good sign, and the message we're giving to everybody is that we'd like people to think big," said Diane Marlin, Urbana's mayor. "This is a turning point for the area with Health Alliance and the auction. Everyone recognizes that we need to do something different. It needs to be transformational."

Health Alliance Medical Plans is moving out of the mall by June 2018 to the new Carle at the Fields campus on Curtis Road in Champaign.

Marlin wants something more exciting to bring people to downtown Urbana, especially with the last phase of the Multimodal Corridor Enhancement, or MCORE, project improving Green Street from campus to downtown Urbana.

"That will become the main corridor between campus and downtown Urbana," Marlin said. "We need to have something exciting and transformational at this site to draw people to our downtown."

After Yuan bought the 128-room hotel at 210 S. Race St. in 2010 for $600,000, he renovated and reopened most of the rooms, but returned $1 million in incentives to the city after failing to open the hotel's restaurant and conference center as part of a developer agreement, according to the city.

Yuan put the hotel up for sale in 2015, with an asking price of $5.4 million, and he closed the hotel in April 2016.

In June, Urbana rejected a plan to redevelop the hotel by New Jersey-based Crimson Rock Capital that officials said would have cost the city $15 million and put too much financial risk on taxpayers.

The Landmark Hotel originally opened in 1923 as the Urbana-Lincoln Hotel. In 1965, it was purchased by Carson Pirie Scott & Co. before being sold in the 1970s to the Jumer Hotel chain. The chain sold it in 2001, and the hotel cycled through various owners before Yuan bought it in 2010.

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Bystander wrote on December 06, 2017 at 7:12 am
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"I am personally aware of six different (potential) bidders that have contacted us."

Hard to believe.