Green Street landscape to change with addition of high rises

Green Street will see at least three new high-rise buildings by 2015, which council member Will Kyles, District 1, said he thinks will drive campus economy and employment.

Many major construction and renovation projects, especially high-rise residential buildings, are planned or are already in progress in the city of Champaign, said Ed Scharlau, Busey Bank vice chairman at Busey Bank’s 61st economic seminar on April 16 at Assembly Hall.

These construction projects are taking place mainly on campus and three residential facilities are scheduled to be completed by 2015 on Green Street. They will be located at Sixth and Green Streets, Fourth and Green Streets and Parking Lot J next to Legends Bar and Grill, 522 E. Green St.

The first project scheduled to be completed by Bankier Apartments is a 14-story apartment building located on the corner of Sixth and Green streets.

Miriam Booth, managing broker of Bankier Apartments, said this building will be both the tallest and nicest apartment building Bankier has developed yet.

“I think the location is also perfect,” Booth said. “It’s right in the middle of campus, very convenient.”

Booth said because it is in the middle of campus, more businesses may be encouraged to come to the area. It will also give students more options to live closer to class.

On the other side of Sixth and Green, JSM Development will begin constructing a 12-story hotel over Parking Lot J on Oct. 1. According to the city of Champaign’s report, JSM will pay about $4 million to purchase the land and will contribute $160,000 toward street reconstruction of Healey Street between Sixth and Fourth streets, which has been estimated by the city to cost approximately $1.7 million.

The city’s report also says that the redevelopment may generate up to $50,000 a year in property taxes for the city. The sales tax and property tax expected from the project may go up to $179,000 by the hotel’s fifth year from a base cost of about $140,000. The project’s completion date is set for August 2015.

HERE Champaign, LLC will begin construction on another apartment building at 308-312 E. Green St., in the space that IHOP and Campus Liquor currently occupy. Construction is expected to begin in October if the Champaign City Council approves the developer’s application. The building will be considered 27 stories due to factors such as high ceilings. It will include 143 residential units, ground floor retail and will be equipped with an automated parking vault operated by an elevator.

The Champaign City Council’s Plan Commission will hold a public hearing for the project May 1 at 4 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 102 N. Neil St. The application will formally go to the council on June 4.

Kyles said he is hopeful that the new development will attract more students to the University. He also said it will be easier for parents who stay in Champaign during special events such as Moms Weekend or sporting events to find lodging.

“(Students) will come not only for great education, but also because the campus is more attractive too,” Kyles said.

Lorrie Pearson, Land Development Manager for Champaign’s Current Planning Division, said Green Street’s direction of development is consistent with the vision the city department has had. She said the construction projects are expected to help drive economic and employment growth. It will attract more business owners to invest in the area.

“Obviously, construction means construction jobs,” Pearson said. “People will be coming in the community, and there will likely be more shops and restaurants.”

She also said adding student apartment units along Green Street will give students more opportunities to walk on campus, as well as lessen the number of cars.

HERE Champaign, LLC’s plans will be finalized during the summer following their city council adoption approving the development. Bankier demolition on Sixth and Green will begin June 1.

Earn can be reached at saenmuk2@dailyillini.com.