$29 Million Trail East Project Heads To Normal Council | WGLT

$29 Million Trail East Project Heads To Normal Council

Oct 12, 2018

The Normal Town Council will take up the $29 million Trail East project proposal Monday.

Bush Construction, the developer of the planned five-story, mixed-use building on Uptown Circle, would get $8 million in incentives from a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district over the next 19 years. That comes from a giveback of tax money created by the new value of the 120,000-square-foot property.

The town would not provide money up front. Staff said the $8 million in TIF money has a current value of about $4.2 million. Another incentive would be reduced cost parking in town parking decks.

The Town of Normal is giving an estimated $1.2 million in land to Bush Construction and demolishing two existing town-owned buildings, 104 and 108 E. Beaufort. That would include the large mural painted on the west side of 104 E. Beaufort.

"There will also be an approval process required through the Historic Preservation Commission for the proposed demolition of 104 and 108 E. Beaufort," town staff told council members in a report. "If the commission recommends against demolition, the Town Council has 30 days to take action to landmark the properties in question or allow demolition to proceed."

The future of 106 E. Beaufort, which is privately owned, was not immediately clear Friday.

"The redevelopment agreement leaves open the possibility of incorporating 106 if the developer elects to include it, but at this time the project encompasses 104 and 108," said City Manager Pam Reece.

Town staff suggested construction would create 200 jobs. When Bush finishes the project, town staff says about 300 people will work in the building—an addition of 270 people to eat in restaurants and patronize Uptown shops.

The first floor would be retail establishments including a food hall showcasing local products. Offices would go on the second to fourth floors and the top floor would have nine apartments.

Staff said the loss of the current surface parking lot on the site can be made up in other ways and Uptown parking will remain adequate.

Bush has told the town it has leased 70 percent of the planned LEED-certified space already including the main tenant, the Farnsworth Group engineering firm.

If council members approve, construction could begin in late spring and finish 14 months after that.

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