CHAMPAIGN — Construction crews began preparing Thursday to tear down a Green Street strip mall on the western edge of Campustown to make way for a $30 million, six-story apartment building, according to a building permit sought by the new owners.
The 153-unit complex, just east of the railroad tracks, would include retail on the first floor and a gym for tenants on the second, according to plans reviewed by Champaign Zoning Administrator Kevin Phillips.
"It's an apartment complex that will have commercial on the Green Street face of it," Phillips said. "It looks like a pretty nice project."
The plans were approved by the zoning department, Phillips said, but are still under review by the fire department's building-safety division.
A separate demolition permit was approved Tuesday for 24 E. Green St., C, and bulldozers were at the fenced-off site Thursday.
The property was sold in November for $2.4 million and again in December for $4 million, according to the county assessor's website.
It was apparently bought by a Chicago-based real-estate firm called CF Capital Partners, which could not be reached for comment.
The owner listed on the demolition permit was CE Capital Partners, which did not show up in the Illinois Secretary of State's database of businesses, but it listed the same Chicago address as CF Capital Partners.
CF Capital also manages Pacifica Champaign, a limited-liability corporation created in November.
Several tenants in the former strip mall have announced moves in recent weeks.
The pole-dancing studio Defy Gravity moved to Lincoln Square Mall, and the Champaign-Urbana Health District is moving its sexual-health clinic to McKinley Memorial Presbyterian Church, 801 S. Fifth St., C.
"That location has closed due to the sale of that building," said Nancy Johnson, coordinator of the Health District's HIV-prevention program. "We will begin a new sexual-health clinic next Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday."
And the leadership at Twin City Bible Church decided in November to close its Midtown location at the Green Street Center and combine it with its main Urbana location, though it may open a Midtown location again in the future.
Phillips said the complex won't extend all the way to Springfield Avenue because the property doesn't extend that far.
"People have often asked us if it's going to be one giant thing from Green to Springfield, and the answer is no. That's a separate parcel," he said.
The new apartment complex will be across the street from the West Quad apartments and to the west of the large drainage basin that Phillips called Square Lake.
The property slopes up toward the railroad tracks to the west.
"It's a challenging site because of the hill and the fact that it tapers off with Square Lake and the railroad tracks on the one side, but it looks like it will be a very nice apartment building," Phillips said. "A lot more people are living in that area now, so we think the commercial is going to build up."