The building has been vacant for over 10 years.
“We’re going to see new work, new life, new employees in this building,” said Champaign Economic Partnership Director Marcia Bailey.
Securing the building and cleaning up the site took the team effort of private and public partnerships like the City of Urbana, the Champaign Economic Partnership and True Inspection Services, LLC, a full-service commercial inspection, engineering and construction management company.
TIS is now the owner of 12.6 of the 20 acre site, including the building. TIS Executive Vice President Joe Timm said three tenants will move into the building after its restoration – TIS, Community Health and Wellness Partners out of Logan County and The Door Shop, which is a commercial door company.
Project partners hope that after the work is completed, other investors will be drawn to build on space behind the building and part of the site’s acreage on the other side of the bike path.
The JMC project piggybacks off of the ongoing development of the FC Legacy Place senior living project that will transform the former North and South elementary schools and the Douglas Inn into affordable senior housing.
“We’re kind of looking at this as the anchor client or anchor site for helping redevelop this whole neighborhood,” Timm said.
Construction bids for the project will go out soon, and the businesses are expected to move in by fall 2021.
Three Businesses to Move in Next Fall
Once work is completed, TIS – a minority-owned, full-service commercial inspection, engineering and construction management company – will occupy the building’s second floor, moving from its current South Main Street location.
Community Health & Wellness Partners (CHWP), which offers a full range of primary medical care including behavioral health services in Bellefontaine, Indian Lake and West Liberty, will open a newly approved Urbana location on the first floor of 605 Miami St. by late fall 2021. The Health Resource Service Administration has also granted CHWP approval to open a school-based health center in West Liberty-Salem Schools in early 2021, CHWP President/CEO Tara Bair said.
The third business – The Door Shop, a commercial door and hardware distributor – will have light manufacturing and warehouse operations at the site.
The former Q3 JMC building is the fourth major vacant structure in Urbana to be given a new lease on life this fall. It joins the Douglas Hotel and the former Urbana North and South Elementary Schools, which are being restored and renovated for FC Legacy Place, a total of 51 affordable senior apartments.
“Both projects have moved forward thanks to strong public-private partnerships, of government and business working together to obtain the necessary funding and provide the expertise to bring plans to reality,” said Marcia Bailey, director of the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP), Champaign County’s economic development agency.
Bailey credits the Champaign County Board of Revision for helping set the wheels in motion for the Q3 JMC project when it approved in 2015 the City of Urbana’s request to obtain the property free of unpaid back property taxes and other encumbrances after no one bid on the property at a sheriff’s sale.
The city took ownership of the 20-acre site in 2017, said Doug Crabill, community development manager who has managed the project for the city. After that the city pursued redevelopment of the property, to clear it of contamination and prepare it for development by new owners.
Bailey assisted the city in reaching an agreement with TIS, the city’s development partner, to oversee the site cleanup and redevelopment. “They were the only company that came forward with interest in renovating the building and turning the brownfield into a greenfield for business development,” Bailey said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to find an end user for the property because of the contamination that had to be removed.”
On behalf of TIS, Bailey wrote an application for a JobsOhio Site Redevelopment Pilot Program grant to help fund the work.
JobsOhio, encouraged by the number of community partners involved, awarded TIS a reimbursable grant of $883,947 to help cover the cost of demolition, environmental remediation, asbestos abatement, removal and disposal of waste, and site preparation. The city provided $348,435 in matching funds, and TIS contributed $116,145.
TIS has acquired 12.6 acres on the east side of the 20-acre redevelopment site, including the Q3 JMC building. The remaining portion of the 20-acre site is being readied to be marketed for business development, Crabill said.
Timm said TIS’s new location will “help take us to the next step in the growth of our company, to hire more personnel and expand our operations.” In addition, he said, some of the 12.6-acre parcel that the former Q3 JMC building sits on will be developed for sale to other businesses.
“The building will be an anchor for future development on the rest of the property, restore jobs lost when Q3 JMC closed, and generate tax revenue for our community,” Bailey said.
Kerry Brugger, Urbana’s director of administration, said, “We’re excited to see the building come back into productive use. It’s a great project for our community. It eliminates a severe safety and health nuisance for the community and will retain and create jobs.”
Of TIS, he said, “It’s been a pleasure working with them. They’ve been an excellent partner to work with.”
The new Cobblestone Hotel & Suites in Urbana officially welcomed its first guests on Friday, June 12th!
Reservations are now available online at https://www.staycobblestone.com/oh/urbana/
Downtown spot opening this month to feature health food
Former ‘city farm’ to be mined for sand and gravel
By Christopher Selmek, Urbana Daily Citizen
The three-story, 54-room Cobblestone Hotel under construction at 170 state Route 55, Urbana, is on budget and on schedule to be completed by mid-May 2020, according to Urbana Hotel LLC managing member Terry Howell. The framing crew lost 12 days of work due to weather, allowed under the construction schedule. Roofers were expected to begin placing tile on Monday.
“The schedule had allowances for weather, and they’ve used up all those allowances to date,” Howell said Friday, Dec. 27. “I would personally like to have seen it a week ahead of schedule, but we’ve had rain come at inopportune times. On Monday the shingle people will come in and they’ll start putting the sofﬁt on and the shingles on.”
Howell said that the framing crew was contracted from Florida by BriMark Builders, that the crew is the number one framing crew for BriMark and that this is the 15th hotel they have built.
“Any construction project usually has a little impediment here or a miscommunication there. That’s kind of normal, but there’s not been very much of that,” he said. “There’s always some of that on any project, but there hadn’t been very much of that on this one. It’s going very smoothly.”
Plumbers and HVAC contractors are at work inside the structure. The concrete pool is built and just needs a liner. Howell said there are as many as 10-15 people working on site during any given day depending on what they are trying to accomplish that day.
“There’s a schedule where you have different trades that have to come together to ﬁt,” Howell said. “The rooms are all laid out and numbered already on the inside. They’re laid out in a rough frame, and there’s an electrical map on each room so electricians know where to run wires and so on. It has been sequenced appropriately and is right on schedule and on budget. Everything is going fairly smooth.”
Howell added that the people working on the entrance will install awning, and then signage will go on the cupola. The “mountain of mud” currently surrounding the building will be transformed into a parking lot big enough to park buses beside the building within the coming months.
“I would have no problem staying here,” he said. “I live just three miles from here so I doubt if I ever will spend the night here, but all the rooms have character. We’ve got like six different styles of rooms … and they have varying amenities that they offer, so they’re not all the same. We are really excited.”
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304