Council approves Laurel Heights apartment complex

By Amanda Liberatore

At its Tuesday night meeting, the Champaign City Council passed by a vote of 8-0 a resolution to approve the preliminary plat of the Laurel Heights subdivision, located southwest of the intersection of Olympian Drive and Market Street.

The resolution will allow the development of multi-family apartment complexes by Herman and Kittle Properties, a contractor based out of Indianapolis.

“The tract is currently outside of the city’s corporate boundary, but is under an agreement to be annexed,” said Bruce Knight, Planning Director. “An annexation will be presented to the city council within two months.”

However, concerns were expressed by the council members regarding the state of the economy and the potential development.

“My concern is that the company will not have enough funding for this project, with the state of the market,” said Dist. 4 Council member Marci Dodds. “I don’t advocate that we pre-judge the success or failure before we even start to with the development, but the market is rather out of balance right now.”

The planning and zoning staff said that they have been running fiscal analysis studies on this project and there is even a study session regarding the matter on March 10. Also, the developer has been working on the project for two and a half years and is well-prepared to fund public services.

“Before we begin this project, I would personally like to see what this project will cost up-front before we start,” said Dist. 3 Council member Vic McIntosh. “I plan on voting to approve this project, but I would feel more comfortable and prepared if we can find out the cost.”

Planning and zoning staff will come forward with a figure before the developer begins building in June.