Second try at auction of Urbana's Landmark Hotel starts today

Second try at auction of Urbana's Landmark Hotel starts today

Hear from Mayor Diane Marlin Tuesday at 4:20 on WDWS.

URBANA — With an auction set to begin today for the Landmark Hotel, officials are hoping the sequel's a bigger hit than the original.

About a dozen developers have toured the property at 210 S. Race St., U, which failed to attract a high enough bid at an auction in December.

"There's been a lot of interest," said Rick George, a broker with the firm Avison Young in Chicago who represents the hotel's owner, Xiao Jin Yuan.

"I think we're going to have a decent number of qualified bidders, probably six or eight groups," he said, with interest both locally and across the nation.

The online auction runs from today to Thursday on, with a minimum bid of $600,000. Yuan also has an undisclosed reserve price that needs to be met.

In December, his reserve price wasn't met, despite bidding reaching $3.95 million, well above the minimum bid of $1.2 million.

"The owner has lowered his expectations significantly," George said.

He expects most of the bidding to happen Thursday.

"There won't be many bids tomorrow," he said Monday. "Those with experience with online real estate auctions, they wait until the last day and won't get involved until the end of the process."

After the auction, the winning bidder will put down a deposit, and the transaction will typically close within 30 days, George said.

He said the city of Urbana has been helpful in working with the interested developers.

Mayor Diane Marlin said she has met with several of them.

"The staff and I have met with at least a dozen different developers," she said. "They've personally been to the city to meet with us, and we provided them with all the information we can give them.

"We've given tours of downtown and expressed to all of them the need for a high-quality, active project at that site," she said.

The hotel has been closed since April 2016 and has been for sale since 2015, when Yuan had an asking price of $5.4 million.

He bought it in 2010 for $600,000 and renovated most of the rooms, but returned $1 million in incentives to the city after not reopening the hotel's restaurant and conference center.

The historic hotel opened in 1923 as the Urbana-Lincoln Hotel. It was later bought by Carson Pirie Scott & Co. in 1965, before being sold to the Jumer Hotel chain in the '70s.

It was sold again in 2001 and has cycled through various owners since then.

Last year, a New Jersey-based firm put together a $24.5 million plan to redevelop the hotel, with $9.5 million from the city, but Marlin rejected the plan due to its cost to Urbana and the risk it would have placed on taxpayers.

Marlin said that whether this auction is successful in finding a buyer "is in the owner's hands."

"This process is going to determine the market value for this property," she said. "We'll see what happens."

On the block

Recent sales prices for Urbana's Landmark Hotel, according to the Champaign County assessor:

Year Price
2001 $2,700,000
2008 $1,300,000
2010 $600,000


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