Hyatt Place opens in downtown Champaign


By Abrar Al-Heeti

Guests to the Champaign area have a new place to stay during their visit. On Tuesday, the Hyatt Place at 217 N. Neil St., Champaign, opened its doors. 

Victor Patterson, general manager of Hyatt Place, said they’re very fortunate to be the only hotel in downtown Champaign.

“We’re gonna bring that little touch of the big city feel to a little bit smaller town community, and hopefully give downtown Champaign a little bit more of that Chicago big city feel,” Patterson said.

Because it is the only downtown hotel, Terri Reifsteck, who is marketing and business development director for Visit Champaign County, said the opening of the Hyatt will change a visitor’s experience in the community.

“It’s a completely different experience for all of our visitors because they have the opportunity to stay kind of in the heart of where everything is happening,” Reifsteck said. 

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    She said this is an added advantage for guests because, without having to get in the car, they can leave the hotel and visit locally owned restaurants, theaters and art galleries all in the immediate vicinity of the hotel. 

    “So it’s really different from any of our other hotels where you would need some sort of transportation to get to the nightlife areas,” she said. “We think it’s going to be a great thing for our visitors to be able to have this opportunity to just stay right in the thick of everything.”

    Local business owners near the hotel are also looking forward to opportunities for more business that will come with the opening of the Hyatt Place. 

    “We’re super excited. We think it’s gonna be great for our business as well as just the downtown,” said Judy Elmore, manager at Jane Addams Book Shop. “Having a hotel downtown means that out of town people won’t be on the outsides of town — they’ll be right central, which is nice.”

    Lois Wacholtz, president of Christopher’s Fine Jewelry Design, said she’s excited about what the hotel will bring to the area.

    “It’s cleaned up that corner after that fire and the loss of the old building,” she said. “The hotel will generate a whole new set of potential customers.”

    The spot the building now occupies used to be the location of a historic, metropolitan building that crumbled in a fire in 2008.

    “We want to be good neighbors with everybody that’s around,” Patterson said. “I think with us coming in, it helps to solidify some of the business needs of some of the restaurants. It will help us push business to them.”

    Abrar can be reached at [email protected].

    Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that this hotel is the first to come to downtown Champaign. It it not, it’s the only current hotel in the location. The Daily Illini regrets the error.