CHAMPAIGN — After 4 years of planning, Bankier Apartments is about to embark on its tallest apartment building yet — a 14-story building at the southwest corner of Sixth and Green streets.
The tower will be constructed on the site now occupied by Gameday Spirit, Hair Benders and Beri Frozen Yogurt & Roll Model.
The building will have commercial space on the first floor, parking on the second through fourth floors, a lounge for tenants on the fifth floor and apartments on the sixth through 14th floors, said Miriam Booth, managing broker for Bankier Apartments.
"We're going to be starting our demolition on June 1," Booth said. The project is expected to be completed by Aug. 15, 2014.
Businesses at the site have been given until May 30 to vacate, she added.
The tower will have 40 two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments. Units at the very top will be split-level with a loft and extra half-bath, she said.
Standard units are projected to lease for $1,700 a month, and the upper units are expected to lease for $1,800 a month, she added.
Each apartment will have a washer and dryer, hardwood floors with carpeting in the bedrooms, 9-foot ceilings and Jacuzzi tubs, Booth said.
Recounting the history of the project, Booth said, "We bought this property about 4 1/2 years ago with the intention eventually to do something in the way of developing the lot. We've now determined what we think is the highest and best use for the lot."
Booth said Bankier has been working with the city for "quite a while now."
"We made the determination to go about five weeks ago and contracted with the architectural firm," she said.
Russ Dankert of MSA Professional Services is architect for the project, and Broeren Russo Companies will be the construction manager. Final drawings for the project are expected April 30, Booth said.
Bankier Apartments has 520 residential units in Champaign-Urbana, accommodating about 1,300 residents.
Its largest local apartment building — in terms of square footage — is the Park Place Tower at Second and Green streets in Champaign.
Booth said the new project does not yet have a name.
"What's exciting is, this is going to be our tallest building, and we think it's going to be our nicest building," she said.
She added she's proud of the location, near the heart of Campustown and only a block away from the Illini Union.
The 14-story building will be across Green Street from JSM Development's proposed Campus Center project, which is expected to come before the Champaign City Council next week. Components of the Campus Center project — to be built on the city parking lot known as Lot J — include an extended-stay hotel, apartments, first-floor commercial space along Green and Sixth streets and parking space.
The new Bankier building is expected to have 4,535 square feet of commercial space. Booth said at least one of the current businesses at the site is likely to take space there, though negotiations are ongoing.
The above-ground parking in the new building is expected to accommodate 29 cars, and Bankier Apartments has arranged additional parking required for the building on one of its private lots.
Booth said Bankier Apartments chose not to include any three- or four-bedroom units in the building because "within our inventory, we felt we had enough units in three- and four-bedrooms."