Alley accommodations still up in air as work to begin on high-rise

Alley accommodations still up in air as work to begin on high-rise

CHAMPAIGN — Construction crews will begin work Monday on the new Campustown high-rise on the southeast corner of Sixth and Green streets.

But while accommodations are being made for pedestrians, the developer and nearby business owners are still figuring out where they'll have to park once the alley behind them is closed.

That "should be firmed up the beginning of next week," said Shannan Fletcher, acquisitions coordinator for the Chicago-based developer Core Spaces. "We're going to be contacting the tenants about that."

The alley is scheduled to close later in the week, on Friday, according to a city of Champaign news release.

About eight businesses use the back alley for deliveries and parking, so some business owners have said not having access for nearly two years could help put them out of business.

Several met with Core last week, and the developer was working this week to provide the city with a written plan for how it would handle alley access.

Daniel Krause, owner of the Green Street restaurant Cracked, said Friday that he doesn't know yet what the plans will be.

"I haven't heard anything since Tuesday," he said.

Champaign Public Works Department spokesman Kris Koester said the city, Core Spaces and the Wisconsin-based general contractor Findorff "will continue to work with affected properties to provide for the relocation of lost parking spaces, the efficient collection of waste and access to loading zones."

"The contractor will work toward reopening the alley as soon as construction staging and safety consideration allows," he said.

The 17-story "Hub on Campus" is scheduled to open in August 2020, with the foundation being poured in February 2019 and the crane used for construction being dismantled in January 2020.

It will feature two floors of retail and student housing ranging from "micro units" to four-bedroom apartments with an enclosed parking garage.

The construction will also widen the alley just north of the former bar The Clybourne, which will let garbage and fire trucks access it.

The Champaign City Council approved acquiring the alley in April by eminent domain, allowing Core to build above and below the alley in exchange for improving it.

Beginning Monday, the contractor will begin changing the traffic pattern to prepare for demolition and let pedestrians continue to access the Green Street sidewalk.

Among the changes:

— The sidewalk and loading zones next to the building footprint on Sixth will be closed for the length of the project.

— The south lane of Green will be closed, and eastbound traffic will use the center lane, which will allow the Green Street sidewalk to remain open.

— Left turns from westbound Green onto Sixth will be prohibited.

— Southbound traffic and parking on Sixth will remain open except for the tower crane set-up in late January 2019, the pouring of the foundation in late February and the dismantling of the crane in January 2020.

The high-rise will be built above where the bars Firehaus and The Clybourne, Korean restaurant Woori Jib, HomeTown Pantry, InterVarsity's meeting space The Loft, Campus Ink and Jimmy John's were located.

Those businesses have all either closed or moved.

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