In July 1921, perform received underway in Urbana on a plan to provide stock to establish a downtown resort that would match the lodging for visitors to close by metropolitan areas.
Considerably less than a few decades afterwards, in January 1924, the Urbana-Lincoln Resort opened at the corner of Green Street and Broadway Avenue.
In July 2021, perform is underway to renovate the freshly renamed hotel and reopen it in time for its 99th birthday.
The Hotel Royer is a nod to the Urbana-born architect who created a host of community buildings, such as the Champaign County Courthouse, the Illinois Traction Setting up, the Alpha Rho Chi fraternity dwelling in Champaign, the Urbana Cost-free Library and extra.
“We needed to pay back homage to Joseph Royer, who intended the initial lodge constructing and other structures in Champaign-Urbana,” claimed Haaris Pervaiz, a director at Icon Hospitality, the Chicago-centered business that will produce and individual the refurbished resort.
Interior demolition operate and reroofing of the full lodge structure has begun, Pervaiz stated, and will soon be followed with exterior perform and a gutting of a great deal of the inside. The objective is to entire the do the job in late 2022.
It will be branded as a Hilton Tapestry Collection resort, a team that includes far more than
55 refurbished resorts in the United States and overseas. There will be 130 guest rooms and 8,000 square feet of assembly house in the hotel, Pervaiz claimed.
“I see this undertaking as the initial step in the revitalization of the 16-acre Lincoln Sq. web-site,” Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin mentioned. “There are 100 a long time of memories connected with this historic hotel in the coronary heart of downtown Urbana. Persons arrived in this article to rejoice life’s milestones — weddings, anniversaries, graduations, proms, promotions — and we appear forward to making the upcoming 100 yrs of reminiscences.
“It opened as the Urbana-Lincoln in 1924 and will reopen as the Hotel Royer, a fitting tribute to the prolific work of Urbana’s architect, Joseph Royer.”
The latest rebirth of the hotel, now on its fifth name, has not been without its complications. Icon purchased the house for $1 million in January 2020 and experienced supposed to commence function on it final year but was delayed by COVID-19 and its outcome on the hospitality marketplace.
That narrative parallels the tale of the authentic Urbana-
Lincoln in the 1920s. Even though organizers offered far more than $223,000 in inventory subscriptions (about $3.3 million in today’s pounds) to finance the challenge — each and every subscriber got a red, white and blue poster that could be shown in their window that study “We have acquired stock in Urbana’s new hotel” — that proved to be inadequate.
Two home loans, just one for $82,000 ($1.2 million today) and a further for $25,000 ($370,000 these days), had been expected. Then arrived the Good Despair and the 1936 bankruptcy of the hotel’s homeowners, the Urbana Lodge Co.
The lodge remained open up via the downturn, but its entrepreneurs did not shell out off all its debts until eventually December 1949, 25 decades just after it opened. New owners took around in 1954, leading to the hotel’s two finest many years.
But it closed in 1975, only to reopen in 1977 when Peoria hotelier James Jumer acquired it, refurbished it in a German style, created an addition onto the first construction and manufactured it portion of his chain of central Illinois inns. But Jumer’s submitted for bankruptcy in 1999.
The resort has experienced a succession of owners and names since. But Icon Hospitality, with the guidance of far more than $5 million in metropolis money, programs to restore it to close to its initial exterior search.
The agreement with the town permits Icon to be reimbursed for $5.5 million of qualified venture expenses on completion of the venture to be operated within just the Tapestry Assortment by Hilton, explained Marlin.
The lodge will meet up with standards set by the Illinois Condition Historic Preservation Place of work and will receive a Certification of Appropriateness from Urbana’s Historic Preservation Commission for the building’s exterior ideas.
The metropolis will issue a bond and anticipates reimbursement in excess of a 10-calendar year period with revenue from resort/motel taxes, food-and-beverage taxes, its boutique lodge tax and tax-increment-financing district income.
Pervaiz explained treatment will be taken to make the exterior and a great deal of the inside of the 2022 Royer glimpse like the 1924 Urbana-Lincoln.
“The exterior framework, all the brick and masonry and millwork, will glance considerably like it did at first,” Pervaiz reported. “We’re likely to improve the entryway to the hotel so that it will be a very lively, eclectic encounter when attendees enter and are greeted by our employees in the restored lobby.
“The public spaces will pretty a lot cherish the historical past of the hotel when guest rooms are obtaining a finish re-imagining.”
At just one time, it was believed that the complete value to rebuild and refurbish the resort would be shut to $20 million. Pervaiz stated he did not want to supply a fresh new estimate.
“There are a large amount of relocating areas nevertheless,” he said. “But it will be lots of, many thousands and thousands.”