Normal tonight + History

By:  Diane Benjamin

Tonight the Normal Council will be meeting for just a few minutes.  The only highlight is selling 2 garbage trucks to the City of Kewanee for $260,000.  Normal already bought replacements.

It is really tough to keep track of all the Uptown History and how much taxpayers money has been invested, so let’s do a short review for part.

Back in 2011 the Hyatt hadn’t been build and 1 Uptown Circle had yet to exist either.

The Town of Normal borrowed $5.1 million to get the Hyatt.  The land was sold for the usual $1, so the total investment doesn’t include what the Town paid for the property.  It also doesn’t include the interest paid on what has been borrowed.

The Town borrowed another $2.75 million and agreed to rent an entire floor of the 1 Uptown Circle building.  There is underground parking, but only for the residents in the upper floors.  The developer also gets 15 free parking spaces in the parking garage for residents.

The developer gets a tax rebate of up to $1,000,000 over 10 years for Sales Tax.  With the ground floor still empty, nothing is being generated.

The rent paid by the Town goes up every year.  Within 15 years the Town will be paying close to $100,000 more a year than they are now.  The going market rate is immaterial, the Town is locked in.  See the Schedule Rent 2nd Floor 1 Uptown Circle

Reports for the occupancy rates at the Hyatt are not good.  Remember a year ago when they wanted a subsidy from taxpayers and then changed their minds?

Meanwhile no sales taxes are being generated from the first floor upscale restaurant because it doesn’t exist.

Below are the FOIA requests for all the Council actions and documentation on the above.  The Town is gambling with your money, these two properties just added to the debt.

1 Uptown Cir common area charges, council action report

1 Uptown Cir lease details






8 thoughts on “Normal tonight + History

  1. I noticed Mr. Dobski is building an upscale restaurant on the west side on Hershey. I wonder why he didn’t want to move into prime real estate in uptown?


  2. Interesting their definition of “very near future.” From the documents regarding the new restaurant: “We understand that the development team will be selecting an operator for the restaurant in the very near future.”

    Apparently everyone involved with this boondoggle of a deal does not have an actual understanding of how taxpayer money is going to subsidize a developer who can’t fill spots.

    At least with the incentives to manufacturers, most of it is based on actual jobs created and maintained. So if you get $250k a year in property tax breaks to create 100 new jobs paying $XX,XXX, at least you have to produce those jobs to get the money. The town just gives away the money and screws over the rest of the taxing bodies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s generous of you, Townie….2030. I’m thinking it will come sooner and much swifter than most people think. Koos will probably still lobby “his” council to approve spending for further expansion, as the last tenant is literally moving out. I’m sure R.C. and WGLTQ will have some tough questions to ask the mayor on the declining business in Uptown. Hahahaha!!!


  3. And then there’s the deal they want to hand out to anyone wanting to develop vacant space in the parking garage just north of the circle as reported in Saturday’s Pravdagraph. More prime retail space that’s empty. Funny how the Pantagraph just glossed over the fact that Maryanne’s Diner and Bill’s Lock and Key have left Uptown and how the empty space in 1 Uptown Circle is no big deal. Let’s just build more.


  4. Those who don’t learn from history won’t vote for Stan Nord, write in Karl Sila, or tentatively vote for Karyn Smith.
    And there’s potentially several hundred dollars in it for you if we can derail the sports complex boondoggle!


  5. Uptown is a disaster. I wish people would wake up and stop making excuses or refuse to look into the issues. “Well, it’s better than it used to be.” or “What if the Town did nothing, it might be worse” or “The Town puts on lots of activities in Uptown.” It’s incredible! Lots of ignorance surrounds the true cost (financial and otherwise) of Uptown. $100+ million in bond, interest, and salaries/pensions in exchange for (increasingly empty) retail shops, restaurants/bars, and hotels and condos for which there is low to no demand. Uptown is a Hollywood set; it’s a veneer. So, what does the Town of Normal do? Admit it’s policy mistakes? Change its approach? Take a pause? No, Sir! They’re doubling down on proven failed strategy hoping for a miracle. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over-and-over again and expecting a different result.

    Liked by 1 person

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