September 13, 2012

5-Story Apartment Building Proposed for Urbana

An apartment project in Urbana that was sidelined by the recession could be coming back to life.

The proposed 5-story student apartment complex with retail space on the bottom floor is proposed for a 3-acre L-shaped lot that fronts both University and North Goodwin Avenues. A long-vacant strip mall on the University Avenue portion of the lot and a contractor’s office on the Goodwin side would be torn down for the new building.

Urbana Economic Development Manager Tom Carino says the project is a revival of one proposed five years ago.

“A few years ago, there was a proposal by a development company called Trammel Crow," said Carino. "And they were moving forward with a very similar development project. And because of the slowing of the economy and difficulty in securing financing, they did not move forward with the project.”

The Florida-based Bainbridge Companies wants to develop the site this time. The building would include a seven-level parking deck. The project already has the approval of the Urbana Plan Commission for a special use permit. A public hearing for the permit is scheduled for next Wednesday before the Urbana Zoning Board of Appeals -- and the Urbana City Council would take a vote Oct. 15.

Carino says the apartment building would be the third new project on the one-thousand block of West University Avenue in Urbana in the last several years. The block is currently home to the Durst Cycle and Fitness Building, and another building that houses offices and a bagel shop.

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