Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Scaled-back student housing complex breaks ground in downtown Springfield

A four-story, 72-unit housing complex geared toward graduate students broke ground in downtown Springfield Monday, but its size has been scaled back from the original proposal earlier this year.

Iowa-based Bluffstone LLC first proposed a five-story building for the southwest corner of Fourth and Madison streets and requested $700,000 in tax increment financing funds from the city. But aldermen rejected the TIF payment in June.

The project, coined the Villas Downtown Springfield, is now planned without TIF dollars as a four-story building on the same site, with 6,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

The apartments are targeted for University of Illinois Springfield students who are working downtown.

While UIS has supported the downtown housing project, it won’t be university-owned housing. The Villas Downtown Springfield will own the property.

UIS can have up to 300 graduate students in a given school year working at the Capitol or with other state governmental agencies, said Clarice Ford, UIS interim vice chancellor for student affairs.

“Apartment housing is pretty limited in Springfield, especially for our graduate students,” Ford said. “They may have families. They come in all different varieties.”

For UIS to recommend that students live at the Villas, it would need to go through the process of becoming a certified student housing apartment, which could begin when the project is still in the building phase, Ford said.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on December 16, 2015.

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