By POPULAR DEMAND (two real people sorta asked for it) this month’s whole column will be devoted to GATHER — that big building on Lincoln across from the Einstein Bagels.
410 N. Lincoln Ave. (aka GATHER)
I gotta admit, if you see Gather from the west, it looks pretty cool. It’s got that big archway with a real patio on top, plus the northwestern corner balcony/turret thingy which I unabashedly love.
Also, wow, a hip cafe? Nice!
However, if you look at the building from the other 3 cardinal directions, it just looks like the rest of the horde of five-story apartment slabs that have been built in the last 10 years.
Ok, I guess that’s not entirely fair. I do appreciate the brick facade on the lower levels. It sets this slab apart from some of the others which are even gray-er. Though even the brick isn’t present everywhere.
Taking a stroll around the building, I like this gear-shaped little table!
This park bench that looks like wood is actually steel!
And the weirdly shiny white fence is made of plastic! Hope it’s strong enough to keep them trains out.
The best part about the silly name is that it’s an imperative. GATHER.
I almost expected it to have an exclamation point at the end like HERE! Put the two buildings next to each other and you’ve got a pretty overbearing sentence.
The south wall sign is in all caps, but the northwest sign is lowercase… why?
Also is that the logo? Eight degrees? Or is it like a stylized lowercase “g?” Or maybe just a depressed, orange snowman.
VERDICT: B- It’s got enough interesting bits to pique my curiosity.
Exploring the GATHER website.
Wait… this place is actually called “GATHER GUEST SUITES?” Has this been a hotel this whole time instead of apartments?
How “immersive” of an experience are they selling here? I guess there is a foosball table in the lobby. That’s pretty collegiate. If I stay in the hotel, will I get invited to all the college parties happening in the building? Are the hotel rooms separated in any way from the student apartments? Dear reader, I spent the better part of an hour digging through the Gather Guest Suites website and I cannot tell.
Okay so, after more digging, I determined that the apartment part of it is now called Yugo instead of Gather? That’s not complicated at all.
The hotel website and the apartments website look different but have a lot of the same pictures and the usual sorts of weird and exaggerated messaging around the “amenities.”
24-Hour arcade gaming lounge!
Wait, it’s only got two arcade cabinets? Okay, each arcade machine has multiple games, but c’mon, that’s still underwhelming.
I came for the stainless steel appliances, but I stayed for the herringbone floors! Also, WTF is “custom cabinet storage?” You mean cabinets bro? The apartments have cabinets?
Oh, but readers, I was so excited to find out about the hot tub that exists in the big archway patio.
I may get a room at GATHER GUEST SUITES for one night just to try out this hot tub. A “Rooftop Terrace BBQ & Hot Tub” was definitely not part of my real life college experience.
My favorite discovery from exploring the websites for Gather and Yugo is the floor plans. They both have floor plans for the apartments/suites, but for whatever reason they’ve tried to be fun with the room labels.
The living room is labeled “GATHER.” The bedrooms all say “CHILL,” and, my favorite part, the bathrooms just say “SCRUB.” I wish the whole building was called SCRUB! Finally a bathing-themed hotel/apartment complex in Urbana!
Anyhow I would re-label these as “NETFLIX,” “SLEEP,” and “SHIT” respectively, in the name of accuracy.
VERDICT: These ain’t my favorite sites on the ole’ world wide web, but at least it got me off of Twitter for a while.
The men’s room in the lobby of GATHER
When I first entered this bathroom, I was worried for a moment that I wouldn’t have much to write about. Everything is gray and white. The walls are completely bare — but then I saw this faucet:
I should say, not just a faucet. After some experimentation (the iconography wasn’t exactly clear) I determined that the left nozzle is for soap, the middle is water, and the right is an air dryer. Amazing! Futuristic! Difficult to take photos of! This thing’s pretty cool, but also whoever bought this bit of hardware for this bathroom is an absolute sucker. I must assume that when any of these three nozzles breaks, the whole unit has to be replaced. Or more likely, GATHER will just replace parts of it with stand-alone bits. Can’t wait to check-in on this in four years when just the left corner says “out of order” with a cheap, crappy, plastic soap dispenser taped to the wall as a replacement. It’ll be beautiful.
The best part of this bathroom though is this tilework right under the sink.
WASH! Just to make sure nobody forgets! This is so charming, and unlike the faucet, it’ll never go out of style. The classic hex tiles make it even more charming. A real missed opportunity here though, because there ought to be similar tilework by the toilet that says “WIPE.”
Well, that was a very deep dive into one weird place. Hope you enjoyed it, readers. I’ll see y’all next month!