NORMAL — Developers are still mum about what restaurant will occupy the first floor of a new uptown building, but details continue to trickle out and plans are set to be finalized soon.
A website for the One Uptown on the Circle project lists the eatery as an "American-themed bistro."
“The group we were most interested in is also interested. ... This is someone independent that’s operating in the market currently at a high level," Doug Reichl, president of developer Tartan Realty Group, told the council in March. “I would be hopeful we could announce that (restaurant) in the near term."
The council approved a redevelopment agreement for the site, across the street from Uptown Station, last month. More detailed plans passed the town's Uptown Design Review Commission on Monday and will appear on the May 2 council agenda.
Construction on the $14 million, 65,000-square-foot, five-story building is expected to begin this summer.
Changes approved Monday include additional signage for the development, including one for the restaurant, and replacing a first-floor arcade — an open area with part of the building overhead — with a canopy over the restaurant's outside seating.
Matt Wylie, a principal at Chicago-based Eckenhoff Saunders Architects, told the commission the outside area will need an exterior fence to comply with liquor regulations. Commissioner Dennis French said the fence could be an opportunity for artistic flourishes.
Wylie also told the commission the project is likely to use local contractors. Plans are 45 percent to 50 percent complete, so contractors may bid on the project next month, he said.
Reichl said the restaurant could hold more than 150 customers. He referred to it as the "piece that everybody's looking at" in the building.
"We'll take care to be sure that it's the right restaurant," he said.
Plans call for apartments on the third, fourth and fifth floors, town offices on the second and a restaurant on the first. A basement would allow residents to park at the site, but restaurant patrons would be expected to park in nearby decks operated by the town.
The project is phase two of Tartan's plans in uptown that also include the Hyatt Place hotel next door to One Uptown on the Circle. The new building is set to use some building materials identical to those used in the Hyatt.
The town lent Tartan $5.1 million for the hotel and will lend another $2.5 million for the new building. Normal also has promised to sell the land to Tartan for $1 and pay top-of-the-market rent for office space there for 15 years.