MTD The Yards rendering

Renderings of The Yards, a proposed development in downtown Champaign, presented to the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District board on Monday, April 15, 2019.

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URBANA — The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is poised to take the next big step forward on the multimillion-dollar development called The Yards that is expected to transform the area around the Illinois Terminal building at 45 E. University Ave., C.

The MTD board will be asked Wednesday to authorize Managing Director Karl Gnadt to enter into a development agreement with Core Champaign Hockey LLC for the portion of The Yards north of Logan Avenue.

That portion of the development includes an expansion of the Illinois Terminal building plus privately owned residential and commercial space and a shared parking facility, Gnadt said.

That work is projected to cost $69.2 million, of which the MTD would be contributing $29 million. The MTD’s share would include $7.725 million from capital reserve funds and the balance from federal funding.

Plans for this phase call for the Illinois Terminal to remain at four stories but get a six-story addition that will include five floors of apartments and first-floor commercial space, Gnadt said.

The portion of The Yards that would be built south of Logan Avenue — a sports arena where a potential Illini varsity hockey team could play, plus a hotel, conference center and additional parking — isn’t covered in the development agreement going to the board Wednesday, Gnadt said Friday.

Due to the pandemic and its impact on rising construction costs, Gnadt said “we are back at the beginning” with that part of the project.

Gnadt said the agreement before the board codifies the relationship between the MTD and the private developer.

If the board authorizes entering into the development agreement, the next actions likely to move the project forward will be agreements with the city of Champaign and third-party architectural and engineering firm and construction contractor.

Gnadt said ideally, he hopes to have architectural and engineering services out for bid in the first quarter of next year and to break ground in the first quarter of 2023.

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