The City of Urbana has announced the development of townhomes, extended stay room, retail, and public outdoor areas at the bustling intersection of Lincoln and University. It will be called Gather, and it will surely be an improvement because that intersection is not attractive right now.

Here is the full press release:

URBANA, IL - Dallas-based Rael Development Corporation and the City of Urbana are pleased to announce a proposal for a new mixed-use development at the intersection of University and Lincoln Avenues in the City of Urbana called Gather. Gather will contain approximately 200 apartments, 16 townhomes and 50 extended-stay rooms, along with nearly 15,000 square feet of lobby, retail and outdoor public areas. The project’s configuration, scale and design are the product of much analysis and collaboration between the developer, the City and Rael’s team of consultants.

“The project is a reflection of our belief that there is not a one-size-fits-all model for a development of this scale and importance,” said Graeme Rael, Principal of Rael Development Corporation. “The project’s proximity to both the University of Illinois and Carle Foundation Hospital at a highly-visible gateway intersection lends itself not to just one monolithic project, but to a mix of buildings and uses. Gather will contain extended-stay hotel rooms and public lobby space, limited retail within the lobby, and high-quality, multi-family apartments to serve both students and professionals.”

Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin also noted that the project would activate and improve a  key gateway for the City of Urbana. “Thousands of visitors, employees, and residents travel through this intersection on a regular basis. We appreciate the care with which Rael  Development Corporation has responded to the historic nature of the neighborhood and significance of the location In our community.  This mix of housing options, extended stay studios, meeting space, and small-scale retail will meet many needs.”

Rael also recognizes the project’s close proximity to Urbana’s historic residential district and has sought to respond sensitively both in scale and design. “While the buildings north of Clark Street will be five stories, the buildings south of Clark Street will be lower in scale and density, with just 16 three-story townhomes with front and back entrances.”

The townhomes will front Lincoln and Clark Streets and provide ample surface parking to create a barrier between the townhomes and residential neighborhood behind. “We envision the charming, brick Clark Street purposefully connecting the two sides of the project creating a pedestrian feel with trees and streetlighting, befitting the historic character of the neighborhood,” said Rael. “The architectural style of the project will lean more traditional, again befitting the character of the neighborhood, with an eclectic mix of facades which respond to the mix of historic homes to the south.”

A neighborhood open house on the project will be held on Tuesday, January 15th from 6:30 to 8:00pm in the parish center of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church located at 708 West Main Street. Graeme Rael and his team will be present to give introductory remarks and discuss the proposed project with residents.

Renderings provided by City of Urbana