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Campustown construction bringing flashbacks

CHAMPAIGN -- Two construction projects will soon crowd a campustown intersection, and it's giving business owner's flashbacks of roadwork they'll never forget.
CHAMPAIGN -- Two construction projects will soon crowd a campustown intersection, and it's giving business owner's flashbacks of roadwork they'll never forget. An apartment project will start at the corner of 6th and Green streets in June.

Across the street, a hotel will be built starting this fall. It sounds like a hassle for drivers. What's now a parking lot will soon be a bustling hotel on top of a parking garage with retail shops below. Across the street will stand a 14-story high-rise apartment.

The only problem? Construction on both will be happening at the same time.

"We're pretty use to dealing in tight quarters," said Jill Guth, JSM Development Director. "We're our own general contractor, so we'll be fine. We know how to deal with it."

And so do neighboring businesses, like Jon's Pipe Shop.

"We've had worse construction of course," said manager Michael LaDue. "The entire Green Street corridor from Wright Street to Neil Street was redone."

Back in 2002, Green Street was closed off for several months as crews widened sidewalks and reduced the road to two lanes.

"It was like a trench warfare scene here," said LaDue. "We had 15-feet depth excavation all the way across the street. Zero circulation. People had to walk on springing wooden planks, teetering on wooden planks to get in and out of businesses."

"This is a little different," said Guth. "I mean Green Street is going to be operational."

Getting around Green Street won't be the only hassle. Parking will be at a premium. We used parking lot J order to do this story, and it'll be gone once construction on the hotel begins.

"Our company owns a lot of parking in the vicinity in this one-to-two block area. We'll probably clear out some of our residential lots and make customer parking for all of the businesses down here," said Guth.

"Circulation will be compromised but it will not come to a halt. You will still be able to get around. I think that's probably the most important thing," said LaDue.

The apartment construction will last until August 2014. Hotel construction should wrap up a year after that.
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