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Uptown updates current construction plan

The original Uptown Circle project has officially been divided into two stages.

Initially, the city’s plan was to simultaneously build a new hotel and a new apartment complex within Uptown Normal.

However, the proposal has since been revised and is now anticipated to be built in two phases.

The first phase starts with the construction of the Hyatt Place Hotel. Upon completion, the construction for new apartments will begin.  The new plan went to the City Council at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Normal is currently in negotiations with Uptown Circle Development, Inc., which will be behind the overall development of the project, and with Johnston Contractors as the general contractors.

Plans for the apartments in Uptown Normal could have six or seven stories, assistant city manager Sally Heffernan said.

The city thinks that office space could possibly be included in the building, Heffernan added.

“The hotel is first and then we will transition into phase two,” she said.

The plans for the Hyatt Place Hotel remain the same as the original — eight stories with 114 rooms and parking available across the street. The Hyatt will face the Marriott on the east side of Broadway Avenue.

The budget for this first phase of the project is $25 million. Construction could begin as early as next month and would take about 12 to 15 months for the Hyatt Place Hotel to be finished.

Revisions to the Uptown Normal plan will make construction easier, Heffernan said.

“If we were constructing at the same time, we would be laying closures in the street,” she added.

However, with the revised plan in building the two structures separately, this will prevent vehicular disruptions with only some sidewalk disruptions.

Currently, the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center hosts business conferences, but the lack of room has restricted the amount of conferences that can be held.

“Having 400 conference attendees is difficult at the Marriott because of the room restriction,” Heffernan said. “The Hyatt will allow for larger and multiple conferences.”

“Uptown is a great place to have conferences, because there’s so much stuff to do,” she added. “The restaurants, the shops, the Children’s Discovery Museum — those are all locations people can walk to.”

Heffernan pointed out some more advantages to the plan.

“People can come in on the train and don’t need to take a cab — they can just walk to the hotel, which is a big selling point,” she said.

“ISU is also close for when they need to house people … The Marriott is quite full throughout the week … So that extra 100 plus rooms will benefit the area.”

As far as the apartment buildings, the town of Normal has had many people ask about the availability of non-student apartments.

“The Uptown Circle apartments will probably be a mix of singles, smaller families or seniors,” Heffernan said.

“They will be high-end and expensive, so they will be audience limited,” she added.

“These apartments will not be built to be attractive to or marketed toward college students.”

(Jake Johnson /  Photographer) The plans to rennovate Uptown Circle have been updated, separating the construction into two phases. The first phase includes adding a Hyatt Place Hotel, and apartments will be added soon after.

(Jake Johnson / Photographer)
The plans to rennovate Uptown Circle have been updated, separating the construction into two phases. The first phase includes adding a Hyatt Place Hotel, and apartments will be added soon after.

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