Rantoul motel develop

The former Knights Inn motel is shown in December 2018 on the southwest corner of Champaign Avenue and Murray Road in Rantoul. In March 2021, Chicago-based Core Acquisitions LLC agreed to buy the property and will demolish the hotel to make way for a retail development near the soon-to-open Rantoul Family Sports Complex on the village’s west side.

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RANTOUL — A former motel at the west entrance to Rantoul will be demolished to make way for commercial development near the site of the soon-to-open Rantoul Family Sports Complex.

Village officials announced that the sale of the 63,750-square-foot property, which had been a Knights Inn, will close later this month. The property is located at the southwest corner of Champaign Avenue and Murray Road.

Adam Bell, vice president of development for Chicago-based Core Acquisitions LLC, which will buy the property, said one of the “main driving factors for us wanting to acquire and develop this site was due to the sports complex and the hundreds of thousands of people that they’re going to be seeing every year.”

He said the development will cater to the retail, service and restaurant tenants with which the company works.

The company could pursue additional area development.

“We are definitely further interested in the Rantoul market,” Bell said.

He said several types of redevelopment plans are under consideration. All of them will focus on various types of retail.

Affiliates of the company own properties throughout the Midwest, including in Bloomington and Champaign. Bell said locally, the company owns the Champaign Town Center development.

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith said the village has been in negotiations regarding the property for the last “eight to nine months.” The property had been condemned by the village.

“There was a court settlement that the village had to go through with the past owners, and (the process) involved putting it on the market (and) finding a buyer. That took the owners quite some time to do,” Smith said.

Environmental issues slowed the process, including asbestos removal, he said. There was also concern about a diesel-fuel spill. Soil samples, however, indicated the soil had not been contaminated.

Smith said the village offered Core Acquisitions a “standard economic agreement” for the area. Details remain to be determined, he said.

There were multiple companies interested in the property, and Smith said Core Acquisitions officials indicated they have more tenants than they have space there.”

Demolition of the motel is expected to begin soon after the sale closes April 19.

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