News Local/State

Urbana Council Will Continue Talks On Hotel Redevelopment

The Urbana Landmark Hotel

The 94-year old Urbana Landmark Hotel, which has been closed since early 2016. Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

The Urbana City Council voted unanimously Monday night to continue talks towards a possible redevelopment agreement for a 94-year old downtown hotel. The latest revisions to the draft agreement for the Urbana Landmark Hotel include reducing the city’s post-construction bonds to help the project from $9.5 million down to $7-million.

Despite her support for the proposal, Alderwoman and mayor-elect Diane Marlin says she still worries that it leaves taxpayers are on the hook.

She also wants the project to have more investors.

"We want something to happen here, but it’s the method of financing," she said. "I don’t know what went on 15 months ago in terms of negotiations, I would have asked about – what are alternatives to issuing a general obligation bond?  How else can we pay for this that better protects the city?”

The revised agreement also requires the hotel to become part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection.

Gina Pigliuso, who serves on Urbana’s Historic Preservation Commission, told the council she seeks out this kind of boutique location when traveling.

“I’d love to see that ballroom used for events, for weddings, I can see all kinds of things happening if we have the foresight to buy into this development, but also to protect our interests as a city," she said.

Current Mayor Laurel Prussing has been a backer of the Landmark redevelopment plan.