A 54-room hotel is planned for Urbana later this year due to the efforts of an investment committee that recently purchased three acres in south Urbana for a Cobblestone Hotel. Sale of the land formerly owned by Kay Slesinger at 170 state Route 55 was finalized on Feb. 21 for $225,000, and according to investment committee co-chair Mike Major that land will be turned over to BriMark Builders LLC, a division of Cobblestone Hotels.
Major thanked the 10 members of the investment committee, including co-chair Terry Howell, who he said contributed construction and site preparation experience, as well as connections with the Slesinger family, and Champaign Economic Partnership Executive Director Marcia Bailey, who he credited with getting the group together, presenting and doing research.
“It’s been a team effort,” Major said. “We have a really good, cohesive group that communicates well, and we’re about to turn the operation over to the Cobblestone family of BriMark and also a division that trains the personnel who run the hotel and manage it and give financial reports on a monthly basis to the investors, so that we’re going to be sitting back answering some questions, but frankly this goes into automatic drive here pretty soon, because the financing is all taken care of. Everything is in place.”
Major said that the hotel will be three stories with about 10,500 square feet per floor on three acres. It will include a variety of room layouts, such as extended stay, large family, and studio, that appeal to different types of customers. There will be amenities such as a pool and breakfast bar.
“A lot of thought has been put into this, and the group is really going out on a limb, financially, and taking substantial risks with this, but it’s a risk that we have studied thoroughly,” Major said. “We have then, on top of that, been wonderfully surprised by the support of the city at every level: the school boards and the county commissioners, the city council. Thanks again to Marcia’s communication, throughout all of those levels we were successful in getting a tax abatement, which was absolutely critical to the financial sustainability of the project. This has been a learning experience for us, but we’re at kind of the end of the road as far as our education is concerned.”
“I’m thrilled,” said Slesinger. “I like the people who are doing this hotel and I can’t think of a better contribution that I could make to my hometown. I think this is going to be the beginning of a lot of development on the south side of Urbana, and it’s going to be great for the whole community.”
The investors will next review the design elements with Excel Engineering Inc. before clearing the lot and installing a construction driveway. Major said he anticipates breaking ground in the spring and the hotel being open for business before the end of the year.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304