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Developer chosen for $50-60 million Trail East and West developments in Uptown

 A rendering of the  view North from Uptown Circle of the proposed Trail East and West projects in Uptown.
Town of Normal
Farnsworth Group
A rendering of the view north from Uptown Circle of the proposed Trail East and West projects in Uptown Normal.

Town of Normal staff have recommended the Town Council choose a Cedar Falls, Iowa-based development company to build the $50-60 million Trail East and Trail West projects in Uptown. The five- or six-story mixed-use buildings on the north side of Uptown Circle would straddle Constitution Boulevard.

"The proposed development will add approximately 198,400 square feet of mixed-use space to Uptown Normal. It will create space for retail shops and restaurants, commercial office space, and over 150 residential units," according to documents prepared for council review ahead of Monday's meeting. "It will bring new and expanded commerce, create office space that will increase employment, and allow for many individuals and families to call Uptown Normal home. "

There would be retail, restaurant, and other business on the bottom, office space on the second floor and residential above. There is more emphasis on residential housing than there was in a previous development effort approved in 2017 that was a casualty of the pandemic.

Town of Normal
Farnsworth Group
A conceptual rendering of the proposed Trail West redevelopment.

The Trail East building would preserve a controversial mural on the brick facing of a building slated for removal. One wall of the building would be incorporated into the design of the new structure. Some structures on the west side of Constitution Boulevard would also be removed to allow development.

"With the recent economic surge due primarily to Rivian, this development will enhance our ability to attract and retain those seeking to live, work, and play in Normal," asserted staff.

If the council approves on Monday, the town would enter into negotiations on a formal redevelopment agreement with Eagle View Partners, founded in 2011 by Mark Kittrell and his daughter, Audrey Kittrell. Their early projects were residential ones in downtown Cedar Falls, Iowa. Town staff said Eagle View has since expanded a portfolio of properties across Iowa. The final redevelopment agreement including any government incentives would come to the council by July.

They are the finalist of four proposals made to the town. Staff selected two for further talks and Eagle View's development concept emerged from the process in February. Since then the town has had design discussions, vetted project financing, owner equity, and investor capacity. Eagle View would partner with the Farnsworth Group for engineering and the construction management firm DCI Group.

The buildings were contemplated in the now two decade old Uptown redevelopment plan.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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