Department Posts

City Rejects Hotel Deal

Urbana Lincoln HotelThe City of Urbana has concluded that a proposal by developer Crimson Rock Capital to renovate the Urbana Landmark Hotel is not feasible.

Mayor Diane Marlin said the major issues were the large amount of money the city would have to borrow to finance the project, the low level of equity participation by the developer and overall taxpayer risk.

“A vibrant hotel would make a great addition to our downtown, but unfortunately after many months of discussion, we were unable to reach an agreement with this developer on the current proposal,” Marlin said.

The primary hurdle for the proposed $24.5 million project was the developer’s request for $9.5 million in city funds, which would have required the issuance of taxpayer-backed bonds. Total cost to the public would have approached $15 million over a 20-year period. Renovation costs were estimated to be $19.5 million, with the remainder going for the purchase of the now-closed hotel.

Marlin Testifies Before Illinois House Against Property Tax Freeze

TESTIMONY of Diane Wolfe Marlin before the Committee of the Whole, House of Representatives, Illinois General Assembly June 23, 2017

Good afternoon. My name is Diane Wolfe Marlin, Mayor, City of Urbana, Illinois. I would like to thank Representative Carol Ammons for offering me this opportunity to speak with you about the impacts of a proposed property tax freeze and other state budget proposals on our city.

I would like to provide some context for my remarks. Urbana is a community of approximately 42,500 people, home of the University of Illinois, two regional medical centers, and the County Seat of Champaign County. As a result of these and other major public service functions, approximately 30% of our land area is exempt from property taxes. Our two largest employers are the University of Illinois and the health care sector.

Open Letter to State Legislators Regarding Municipal Revenues and the Budget From the Mayors of Champaign and Urbana

The following joint letter from Urbana Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin and Champaign Mayor Deborah Feinen was sent today (June 21) to local legislators.

Green Street ConstructionPUBLIC WORKS – MCORE (Transfer and Pass Through Funding)

Without passage of a State budget by June 30, automatic transfers to transit agencies and local governments will end. Any cutoff would damage mass transit service and halt many local road projects, in particular the MCORE Project in Champaign-Urbana, which is federally funded via grant money that passes through IDOT.

New Apartment Building To Be Constructed In West Urbana

Lincoln-Nevada ApartmentsPreliminary work on a new 18-unit three-story apartment building in West Urbana will begin within a few weeks, with the planned demolition of four existing buildings.

Chris Saunders, president of Green Street Realty, said he expects construction of the three-story brick apartment building at the southeast corner of South Lincoln Avenue and West Nevada Street to begin this September.

The building will have a traditional look with earth-toned brick and will include 11 units with four bedrooms and two baths, and seven units with three bedrooms and three baths. The project will cost between $5 million and $6 million, including property acquisition costs.

“We’re excited to get started on it,” Saunders said. “We think it will fit in well with the neighborhood.”

Library Foundation To Purchase Corner Lot

The Urbana Free Library will gain a landscaped south entryway as a result of purchase of a vacant lot at Race and Green streets in downtown Urbana.

A purchase agreement for $115,000 was signed in May by representatives of Persistence of Illinois, the owners, and the Urbana Free Library Foundation, one of the Library’s charitable fund-raising arms. Closing is set for June 30. The deed will go directly to the Library.

The entire purchase price is covered by citizen donations to the Foundation. A November annual fund drive letter specifically asked for donations to pay for purchasing the lot.

"Making this vacant lot into a beautiful, landscaped entryway to the library is something I and lot of other Urbana residents have wanted to see for a long time," Mayor Diane Marlin said. "Now it's going to happen, thanks to the generosity of residents and hard work of the Foundation.

“It shows you what we can achieve in Urbana if we work together,” she said.