3 Historic Urbana Landmarks Being Transformed for Senior Apartments
Champaign Economic Partnership
The Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) has announced that years of determined work by a public-private partnership is paying off for the city of Urbana.
Work got underway September 17, days after $13 million in financing was released, to transform three historic buildings into 51 affordable apartments for senior citizens. The buildings include the Douglas Hotel – an 1870 landmark vacant since 2004 in the center of downtown Urbana – and the former Urbana North and South Elementary Schools, which were replaced in 2018 by a new elementary/middle school.
“This is a big win for our community, and it’s the result of persistent effort by many individuals and organizations in a united public-private partnership,” Marcia Bailey, director of the CEP, said. “This project is proof of what our community can accomplish when we work together.”
Besides the CEP and project developer F&C Legacy Place, key players in the partnership are the City of Urbana, Urbana City Schools administration and Board of Education, John Doss, owner of the Douglas Hotel since 2007, and Resident Supports and Services, Inc. (RSSI). RSSI, a local nonprofit provider of housing for seniors and adults with developmental disabilities, is serving as co-developer and 25 percent owner of the project. Six of the apartments will be designated for people with disabilities.
“Revitalizing and repurposing these historic buildings will have a tremendous impact on our economy and the attractiveness of our community and downtown,” Bailey said.
“I’m looking forward to further business development in Urbana, especially in the downtown, to accommodate the new Legacy Place residents.” She added that other developers are building loft apartments in the downtown.
Another positive outcome of the Legacy Place project, she added, is that it will make much needed single-family housing available for new residents as seniors downsize to move into the apartments.
The apartments will be ready to lease next year, Duane Miller, F&C Legacy Place president, said. The apartments in the school buildings will be ready by mid-summer and the apartments in the Douglas, by year end.
Miller said the project accomplishes two goals: “turning three vacant buildings back around to make them useful assets to the community and meeting Urbana’s needs for affordable senior housing.”
He added that the project, as it qualified for historic tax credits, will respect the historic nature of the buildings.
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