Developer Releases Plans for Carbondale Strip


By Sam Jones
By Andy Shofstall

JACKSON COUNTY-- Tuesday night's city council meeting offered a first look at a proposal to rejuvenate part of downtown Carbondale.

A developer presented plans for a new project along the strip at the site of the 710 Bookstore. They're the second developers to work on the project. A deal fell through with another group months ago.

Tuesday was the new company's first chance to meet with the council and present preliminary plans.

"We'd like to show where our thoughts are, understand if we're headed down a wrong path. You know, just gauge what the reception’s gonna be," Doug Reichl with Tartan Realty Group explained.

Reichl is one of the partners who will own the space where 710 Bookstore is now located. His organization's partnered with an architectural firm for the project.

"We think it's a great project, and we think the timing is right for the project to happen," Reichl told News 3.

Renderings presented at the meeting show a four-story apartment building on top of the retail space, that would include one, two and four bedroom apartments.

"That's the right mix; it's the right fix for the site," he added.

The apartments will be catered mainly to college students, and retail space will likely include both national and local names. Most of them are expected to be entertainment related.

Council members asked their own questions; Lance Jack raised concerns about welcoming local businesses to the new space.He suggested an emphasis on bringing more locall-owned businesses downtown.

Lee Fronabarger broached the possibility of opening up housing beyondn just SIU students, to young professionals. Both suggestions will be considered.

Reichl and his team hope to begin construction this spring, in order to complete the project by the start of the 2015 school year.

"We need to be in the ground relatively quickly. We need to get in front of council and get approved and all that," Reichl advised.

The development team has completed projects near other universities. Their plans carry a price tag of $20 million or more. Due to the prominence of the corner, they say the budget is reasonable, and could spark more development throughout downtown.

The developers will now await city approval before work can begin. There is no timetable at this point for when the council will make a decision.

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