C-U getting new king of buildings on campus
By Mike Monson
Wednesday, May 2, 2007 2:21 PM CDT
City officials are calling it "the whopper."
Construction is expected to begin this month on a 24-story
Campustown apartment building that will become the tallest building in Champaign-Urbana once it is finished in 16 months.
The building will be constructed at 309 E. Green St.
, on a 132-by-132 foot site that was recently home to a Burger King restaurant.
Developers Tom Gillespie of Urbana, Brian Neiswender of Champaign and Tom Scott and Mark Lifshin, both of Chicago, are the principals behind the project. Their company, Campus Acquisitions LLC of Champaign, is developing the project.
Roland Realty, of which Gillespie is president, will manage the building after in opens in mid-2008.
The building will have 110 apartments
, most of them four-bedroom units and all of them having a terrace. The first floor will be retail/commercial
, and the next six floors will be for parking, with 219 spaces.
"Why so tall?" said Gillespie. "The cost of the land and the floor-area ratio (a city zoning standard) allows us to put that many units on that much land. It's both opportunity and necessity."
On the eighth floor, on top of the parking podium, will be a fitness center
, an outdoor swimming pool and open air hot tub.
The building, unnamed at this point, is on the same block as the current tallest building in town, The Tower at Third, which has 21 stories and stands at 205 feet. It was built in the 1970s.
Gillespie said the apartments will be located in two linked towers and will have "a very Chicago urban persona," with plenty of windows and aluminum. He said the apartments will be rented as a unit, not by the bedroom, and will be most attractive to undergraduate students.
"They'll have a Chicago loft style feel," he said. "They'll have granite countertops, hardwood floors, washers and dryers, and higher end appliances."
The units will be completely furnished and will include flat-screen televisions and Internet service.
"They are going to be high-end units," Gillespie said. "It's an overused term, but it's applicable here."
apartment building will be built up to the property line. The adjacent Campus Corner Mall at Fourth and Green streets will remain in place and will not be a part of the project.
Broeren Russo Companies of Champaign will be the contractor on the project, which will use concrete construction.
The building's architecture "is more typical of what you would see in Chicago or an urban style architecture," said John Russo, executive vice president of Broeren Russo Companies.
Russo said constructing the high-rise will require that one lane of Green Street be closed near the project for about a year. He said the lane closure won't take place for a few months.
Construction of caisson foundation piers could begin today, he said.
Gillespie declined to say how much the project will cost, but the estimated cost is listed at $21 million
on the building permit application.
Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture
of Chicago is the architect.
The city of Champaign has already awarded a footing and foundation permit for the project and is reviewing a building permit application submitted by the developer on April 18. No zoning change is required for the project, which is located in a Central Business District zoning district, said Bruce Knight, Champaign's planning director.
"We've looked at some of the preliminary drawings," said Knight. "It certainly represents a significant reinvestment in Campustown and that's positive."
Knight said the city is likely, in coming months, to evaluate the capacity of the Campustown area to handle such high-rise buildings and their impact on "the urban form." That will probably be done through an update of the Campustown Action Plan, which is several years old, he said.
"I'm not being critical of this particular building," Knight said. "I don't know that anybody imagined that buildings of this size would become commonplace down there."