NORMAL — Uptown Normal's newest attraction is almost ready.
The $25 million Hyatt Place hotel, 200 Broadway Ave., is set for a soft opening Aug. 27 and will take reservations for a mid-September grand opening, with a ribbon-cutting expected that day.
Members of the Normal Town Council and local media got a sneak peek Monday at the building, which includes a $5.1 million contribution from the town.
General Manager Rodney Brittain showed off the first three floors of the eight-story structure, including a 24-hour cafe, kitchen, pool and business center with computers on the first; fitness center with elliptical machines, yoga mats and weights, three meeting rooms and a to-be-completed rooftop lounge on the second; and guest rooms on the third. The building has 114 guest rooms.
Council Member Cheryl Gaines joked she could live in the guest rooms, especially corner rooms that include a wall almost entirely composed of windows overlooking uptown. Other members said they liked the bathrooms and showers.
"Nobody else has the style of this building, which matches uptown Normal," said Brittain.
Council Member Kevin McCarthy said “the Hyatt has done a great job creating another well-appointed hotel in our uptown in addition to what the Marriott did.”
McCarthy said the lounge is "going to be another great outdoor dining experience for people coming to uptown,” and “for a limited-service hotel, they had quite the area for breakfast.”
“That bank of windows in the corner room is pretty darn cool,” he said. "I imagine those will be in high demand."
Guests can expect to pay about $140 per night to stay at the hotel, said Tartan Realty President Doug Reichl, who helped shepherd the project over the last few years with fellow developer Campus Acquisition.
"I think aesthetically it fits in with the modern feel (of uptown), although with the brick it still ties in with some of the older buildings," he told media after the tour.
Reichl said "from a use standpoint, this is a huge complement to what's being offered over at the Marriott."
"They couldn't book the larger shows because they didn't have enough rooms, but by adding this, I think that's going to open up the ability to book the convention center," he said.
Brittain said the hotel is already sold out for four weekends for Illinois State University events.
With the hotel near completion, officials are turning their attention to a luxury apartment building to be built next door. Reichl, who is also developing that project, said the structure will include "a first-floor restaurant and three levels of resident rental units," including 24 studio, one- and two-bedrooms.
Reichl said he's "working with the town on the redevelopment agreement for the land" with an eye on breaking ground in February or March.
"That's probably a ten-month project," he said of construction.
McCarthy said he hasn't seen plans for the apartment building but believes “we’re much closer than we ever have been.” He said he gets more questions about them than the Hyatt.
McCarthy said officials are excited to “see our affectionately-called 'hole' filled in" next to Uptown Circle.
“I think it’s great for uptown and great for the city of Normal,” he said.