NORMAL — Town officials want to give a developer one more chance to reopen the former Holiday Inn near Interstate 55 in north Normal.

The town will offer Normal Lodging LLC six weeks to secure financing and keep up to $4.85 million in public incentives to be received after it opens a Radisson Hotel at 8 Traders Circle, pending city council approval on Monday.

Officials expect renovations to take eight or nine months, putting the opening for the new hotel in September or October, said City Manager Mark Peterson.

"Given the developer’s poor track record in securing financing for this project in the past, the staff has included a provision in the development agreement that requires the developer to close on the necessary financing no later than Jan. 15," according to town documents. "It is their intention to close on the financing by the end of this calendar year. If they are not successful... this agreement becomes null and void."

The town first agreed in December 2011 to pass on tax increment financing and hotel tax money related to the property to Normal Lodging if renovations started by the following June. The company received an extension but missed a Dec. 31, 2013, deadline as well.

"Within the last 30 days, the town has been notified by the developer that they have finally been able to secure a financing commitment for the project" totaling its $18.2 million price tag, according to documents. That includes a $2.35 million loan against future TIF money, Peterson said.

The new Radisson in Normal would feature 158 rooms and a 12,000 square-foot conference center.

Since the Holiday Inn closed, Normal has helped developers build Marriott and Hyatt Place hotels in uptown, including a 23,000 square-foot conference center and a combined 340 rooms. Peterson said he's not concerned about over-saturating the market, however.

“If for some reason the hotel was not successful and it didn’t generate any money, (Normal Lodging) wouldn’t benefit from the rebates, but we certainly believe it will be successful," he said. “For the town, it’s a win-win.”

Normal has struggled to redevelop the property at 8 Traders Circle since the Holiday Inn closed in 2006. Global Hotel Management bought and partially renovated the building as a potential Crowne Plaza Hotel in 2008 but "failed to secure the necessary financing to continue with construction," and "the property was tied up in a foreclosure proceeding" following that. 

Swift Hospitality Group, a hotel company from Freeport, formed Normal Lodging with development partners after buying the property in 2010. Hotels managed by Swift include a Country Inn & Suites By Carlson in Springfield and a Radisson Hotel in suburban Schaumburg opening this year, according to Swift's website.

“We’re certainly pleased it appears the project will move forward, and we’re anxious to see it finished,” Peterson said.

Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh


Staff Writer

Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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