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This design, one of three Normal provided to prospective developers of a new high-rise on the northeast side of Uptown Circle, is the most similar to what Davenport, Iowa-based Bush Construction would build under a deal to be approved Tuesday by Normal City Council.

NORMAL — Uptown's next building could look a lot like its last.

Officials are considering a proposal for a five-story high-rise with first-floor retail space, second-floor offices and third-, fourth- and fifth-floor apartments on the northeast section of the circle, to replace what's now a parking lot at 104 E. Beaufort St., and possibly adjoining retail space.

The plan is bigger than but similar to One Uptown, a five-story mixed-use building finished last fall on the circle's west side, across Beaufort Street from Uptown Station.

Normal City Council will consider Tuesday an agreement that could clear the way for Davenport, Iowa-based Bush Construction to build the structure, expected to cost $29 million.

"It's so preliminary it's hard to say what's going to happen or when, but this gives them the comfort level to go out and spend some money now," said City Manager Mark Peterson of Bush, which has yet to submit a building design. "They should be comfortable knowing they have exclusive rights there."

Bush could receive proceeds from the town's uptown tax increment financing district, which uses additional property tax revenue generated by rising property values there to fund infrastructure upgrades and private incentives, with the amount to "depend on final design and associated costs."

"Funding would come from a variety of sources including debt, owner equity and New Market Tax Credits," according to a memo from town Economic Development Director Sally Heffernan. New Market Tax Credits are a federal incentive intended to encourage companies to invest in low-income areas.

The town has not yet negotiated a price for the land, which a previous town document said would be decided between Normal and the developer. The town owns 104 E. Beaufort St. and has given land to developers in similar situations, including the One Uptown site to developer Tartan Realty Group.

The building could also use 106 and 108 E. Beaufort. The town owns 108; 106 is owned by Matthew Martin of Batavia.

Those buildings are currently occupied by The Pod, Windy City Weiners and Slightshot Co-Work, respectively. The Pod and Slingshot plan to vacate.

"Construction will begin in fall 2018 with estimated completion in October 2019," Heffernan wrote. "An estimated 200 jobs will be created during the construction phase."

The proposed building is 115,000 square feet, including 8,500 for first-floor retail and 23,000 for second-floor offices. The upper-level apartments would be one-, two- or three-bedroom units.

Bloomington-based engineering firm Farnsworth Group and an unnamed technology company are expected to use the office space.

"As envisioned, the first floor consists of 21 covered parking spaces," wrote Heffernan. "A courtyard area, covered by the building’s upper floors, is located near the mid-point of the building’s north-south facade and open to the east and west. The upper floors will be stepped back from the circle."

Offices and apartments at One Uptown are now operating, but a promised first-floor restaurant is still in the works. That building, about 65,000 square feet, cost $14 million, paid partially through $2.75 million from the town.

The council meets 7 p.m. Tuesday on the fourth floor at Uptown Station. The meeting was moved from Monday due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh


Normal and McLean County Reporter

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