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Developers propose luxury townhouses in 477-unit project in north Normal

Jason Barickman
Eric Stock
Jason Barickman, a partner with Fairlawn Capital, points to renderings of the proposed Carden Springs development.

Fairlawn Capital of Champaign, the real estate firm that built the Wintergreen subdivision in Normal and recently won approval for the nearby Weldon Reserve subdivision, now wants to build a luxury multifamily housing complex near Towanda Avenue and Interstate 55 in north Normal.

Jason Barickman, who retiring from the state Senate in January, is a partner with Fairlawn. He said Carden Springs, a 39-acre site, will have 477 mostly one- and two-bedroom units built in 29 townhouse and garden-style apartment buildings on what’s currently farmland. Fifteen would be three story-buildings, seven would be two stories and seven would be townhouses.

The project requires town annexation and zoning approval as a medium-density multifamily residential district. The plans, filed with the Town of Normal on Monday, will go before the Normal Planning Commission in January.

Barickman said the development is a good fit for empty nesters, young couples and retirees, among others.

“We think that there’s a large population of potential tenants who will appreciate the quality that’s offered here, the green space, the amenities,” Barickman said at a news conference Wednesday at an uptown Normal bank.

Amenities will include walking and biking trails, a clubhouse, swimming pool and electric-vehicle charging stations.

Barickman said rents would range between $1,500 and $2,300 per month, noting a recent study showed Bloomington-Normal was short 4,300 homes.

Patrick Hoban is CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council (EDC) that commissioned the study. Hoban said the study didn't factor in the recent hiring spree at electric automaker Rivian, adding cell phone tracking data show about 3,000 Rivian employees commute from other communities.

The proposed Carden Springs development in north Normal would include 29 garden-style and townhouse buildings.
The proposed Carden Springs development in north Normal would include 29 garden-style and townhouse buildings.

“We have a lot of people commuting and the idea for the EDC would be with economic impact, it would be nice to capture those dollars so that people go home here and spend the dollars in our restaurants instead of people (going) to Peoria and Champaign and somewhere else,” Hoban said.

Barickman said Fairlawn was planning the project prior to the study, but the report confirmed the company’s analysis.

“We thought this was an independent verification that we were right, that this is something that is really in need in the community and that’s why we want to put it forward,” said Barickman, adding an independent traffic study shows minimal impact.

“The traffic study concluded that the project site-generated traffic has little effect upon the operations of the area roadway network, the impact of the site is negligible,” he said. The study recommends a left-turn lane be added at Towanda and Beech Street, he said, and that Fairlawn Capital would pay for the added lane of traffic.

Barickman said a school study showed the luxury apartments would likely attract fewer families with school-aged children than single-family homes would. Opponents of the Weldon Reserve development had complained the local school system could not support the influx of new students that development would bring.

Barickman said developers planned to line the edges of the development with townhouses at the request of neighbors. He said the project has the lowest housing density allowed by the town at 12.1 housing units per acre.

“What that means is this project consists of lots of green space,” Barickman said.

Barickman said the development is named after one of the previous owners of the property and also is a nod to nearby Carden Park.

Barickman said the housing project will cost in the “tens of millions of dollars” and would be done in stages over four to five years. He projects construction will start next September.

Fairlawn will host an open house on the project at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at Prairieland Elementary School.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.