The Urbana Planning Commission on Monday granted final site plan approval for construction of a 355,319-square-foot warehousing facility in the Urbana Industrial Park on the city’s south side.
Limited construction at the Phoenix Drive site began earlier this month after Planning Commission members approved Damewood Enterprises Limited’s preliminary site plan in January. While Damewood Enterprises will own the facility, it will be leased to Navistar to be used as a distribution center.
Monday’s final site plan approval is contingent on Damewood Enterprises and Dublin Building Systems – the project’s building contractor – addressing the few remaining comments the city’s Technical Review Committee asked be revisited and incorporated into the final site plan drawings.
“We are in the process of answering the questions and responding,” Rich Irelan, owner of Dublin Building Systems, told Planning Commission members Monday. “There are a few things in here that are cost increases. I think he (Brad Damewood of Damewood Enterprises Limited) has accepted most of them, if not all of them.”
Damewood also addressed the Planning Commission, asking if the TRC comments concerning the project are all “must-haves” or “nice-to-haves.” He said the project is in the beginning stages, but already over budget.
“If they are all must-haves, then that is fine,” Damewood said. “If there is no cost associated, then there is absolutely no problem. If there is cost associated, then I just wanted to at least ask that question.”
Irelan and Damewood addressed some of the TRC comments on the final site plan drawings, specifically drive approaches, traffic, and screening of the parking lot.
Irelan said the city asking for the four drive approaches into the facility to be concrete instead of heavy-duty asphalt was one of the items that drew the most attention due to the added costs.
“If we have to do it, we will do it,” he added. “Brad’s accepted to do the concrete.”
As to whether the facility will require a traffic signal or turn lanes, etc., Irelan said the traffic study is being finalized, and the results will be available within a few weeks.
To address the TRC comments relating to screening the 202-space parking lot, which will face the state Route 55/Phoenix Drive intersection, Irelan said his firm has access to plenty of topsoil and will make sure the landscape mound screening the lot from state Route 55 is at least 3 ½ feet tall.
Irelan said he’s “confident” all parties will be able to work out everything.
“It sounds to me like most (issues) have been worked out,” Urbana Mayor and Planning Commission member Bill Bean said prior to the final site plan being put to a vote on Monday.
Impact of new warehouse
Before the first piece of dirt was moved on Phoenix Drive for the distribution center, expected to cost $12 million to build and to house $16 million in inventory, the city and Urbana City Schools both agreed to a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) agreement in January involving Damewood Enterprises and Navistar.
Under the CRA agreement, Damewood Enterprises is being granted a 10-year, 100 percent tax exemption of real property tax.
In return, Champaign Economic Partnership Economic Development Director Marcia Bailey said, Navistar has agreed to retain 114 employees currently employed at its ODW Logistics facility (located at 1030 S. Edgewood Ave.), transfer 27 full-time jobs from Xenia to Urbana, and create 13 new full-time jobs.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.