A developer that’s been struggling to find a restaurant to rent the new first-floor space on Uptown Circle is asking the town’s permission to cut the space in half—and possibly skip the restaurant altogether.
One Uptown Circle, on the western arc of the roundabout, was completed last fall. While residents and Town of Normal staff are occupying the upper floors, the 6,700-square-foot, first-floor space remains vacant. The town’s development agreement required it to be occupied by a full-service restaurant, defined as a sit-down restaurant with an upscale menu and extensive beverage options.
In May City Manager Pam Reece said that the developer, Doug Reichl, was struggling to find a restaurant able to make the initial capital investment to finish out the space. The Town of Normal committed to invest $7.9 million to the overall construction project, which also includes the adjacent Hyatt Place hotel.
Now Reichl’s Uptown Circle Development II Inc. wants to split that first-floor space into two smaller units, part of a new strategy to land a restaurant, town officials said. He’s asking for the development agreement to be changed to allow for that. The Normal Town Council will vote on those changes Monday night.
“It is the developer’s intent to secure a fine dining restaurant for the 3,700-square-foot space and seek an alternative, non-restaurant tenant for the smaller unit. If the restauranteur experiences success and desires to expand, the restaurant operation could eventually expand into the smaller unit at some point in the future,” town staff wrote to the Normal Town Council.
If the developer still can’t find a restaurant, it can ask the town’s permission to rent to some other business. The town would have final say on who.
The restaurant can be national, regional or local and may either be an operator of a chain of fine-dining restaurants or an independent restaurant operator, according to the proposed changes to the developer agreement.
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