Editorial | More construction

Editorial | More construction

Development at the intersection of Lincoln and University avenues is another shot in the arm for Urbana.

Apartment and townhome construction continues to boom in Champaign-Urbana, to the point that reasonable people can wonder just who is going to fill all this residential space.

After all, just how much is enough? That's a question only the marketplace can answer. For now, it's enough that private developers are willing to put up their money in pursuit of what they expect will be a financial gain.

The latest example of this boom is the proposed development at one of Urbana's busiest intersections, the southeast corner of Lincoln and University avenues.

The intersection represents one of the gateways to this community, and, if all goes as planned, the development will definitely spruce up an area that needs a face-lift.

The Rael Development Corp. of Texas recently announced that it soon will begin construction on what ultimately is expected to become 200 apartments, 16 townhomes and 50 extended-stay hotel rooms.

The project also will include substantial lobby and retail space and outdoor public areas.

Construction is scheduled to be performed in stages, parts of it to be done by the summer of 2020, with the remainder scheduled for completion in 2021.

The plan, which is nothing if not ambitious, has drawn praise from Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin. She said the quality and appearance of the development has the potential to "transform that corner."

Although the developer — Graeme Rael — said he has been careful about maintaining the historical importance of the area, neighbors have yet to weigh in on the plan.

They'll have an opportunity to learn more details at a Tuesday open house on the project that will be held at the nearby St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

This is the second major residential project announced in Urbana in recent months, the first being the development north of the city building. Obviously, there's more work to do, the most prominent redevelopment problem being the now-closed Landmark Hotel at Lincoln Square Village.

But it's one step at a time in these kinds of important efforts that create jobs and expand the tax base.

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