Historic Urbana Landmark Hotel Restoration and Renovation Project

The historic Urbana Landmark Hotel in downtown Urbana is one of a number of commercial businesses that the City has assisted through Urbana’s business incentive programs.The hotel, purchased by Xiao Jin Yuan in November 2010, is expected to open in fall 2012. Renovation to the Urbana Landmark Hotel has proved to be a significant economic development project in Urbana that will lead to job creation and the revitalization of a once prominent property in the downtown area that has been underutilized for years.

Xiao Jin Yuan is no stranger to hotel ownership and management. Before coming to Urbana to restore and re-open the Urbana Landmark Hotel, he built and still operates an oceanfront hotel in Crescent City, California. When asked why he chose Urbana for his next venture, Yuan commented that he thought the Urbana Landmark Hotel has unique and uncommon characteristics. To him, the hotel provides a unique opportunity to restore a landmark to its original beauty and architectural significance.

In order to help preserve the hotel and ensure the long-term viability of the building, Yuan has received assistance through one of the City of Urbana’s business incentive and assistance programs. Funds for these programs come from a special tax increment finance (TIF) district fund specifically designed to facilitate development, redevelopment and renovation projects. From this funding assistance, Yuan has made major long-term infrastructure improvements to the building, including replacement of the hotel’s roof, fixing broken pipes and leaks, waterproofing, and making the elevator lift operational.

The newly renovated hotel will initially offer 45 updated hotel rooms. The main lobby of the hotel is now ADA accessible, includes updated marble flooring, restoration of original wood flooring, ample natural light and features restored stained-glass paned windows. The guest rooms are renovated to appeal to the modern tourist, featuring flat-screen televisions, wireless internet access, new bedding and, keycard room access and other modern amenities.

Further renovations are scheduled to take place after the initial opening of the main lobby and the first floor of hotel rooms. These renovations will include updating the dining areas, kitchen, ballroom, swimming pool area, conference space and third and fourth floor hotel rooms. The new owner also plans to feature a Karaoke lounge in the basement, attracting University of Illinois students and others to come and enjoy nightlife in downtown Urbana. Yuan plans to launch a website to promote the hotel and provide historical information regarding the building.

The Urbana Landmark Hotel improves an important gateway to the City of Urbana and especially the downtown. Restoration of the property will bring more visitors to the historic downtown area, providing a larger audience to experience Urbana’s dynamic dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities.

The Urbana Economic Development Team has several programs aimed at attracting new businesses and economic development opportunities while assisting existing businesses and the talented labor pool that are already part of our community. These programs include economic incentives in the form of loans, grants for certain areas, rent assistance, redevelopment assistance, provision of market information, and guidance through the development process. Click here to learn more about Urbana’s business incentive programs.

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