Council Briefing: Plans for New Apartment Complex Approved, Town Engineering Director to Retire

 Normal Engineering Director Gene Brown, left, will retire May 31. Brown received a proclamation Monday night from Normal Mayor Chris Koos, center, commemorating his career contributions to the Town. (Photo: Breanna Grow/AdaptBN)

Normal Engineering Director Gene Brown, left, will retire May 31. Brown received a proclamation Monday night from Normal Mayor Chris Koos, center, commemorating his career contributions to the Town. (Photo: Breanna Grow/AdaptBN)

Town council members Monday night unanimously approved plans for a new apartment complex east of AMC’s Starplex Theater in Normal.

Normal Director of Inspections Greg Troemel said the developer of “The Park” at 100 McKnight Street plans to market the 85-unit complex primarily to students. The first phase, which includes five of 14 planned buildings, features mostly 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom townhome-style units.

The plan also includes a 27,000-square foot central park area, 170-space parking lot and a sidewalk connection to the Constitution trail.

Council member Kathleen Lorenz asked whether the units could be categorized as luxury student housing.

“It’s a new construction, so it’s going to be nice regardless,” said Troemel. “I think they’re setting themselves up so that if the student market is there, that’s great, and if not, then these units are going to be desirable to families or couples.”

Future phases would include a mix of townhome and apartment-style units with 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms.

Town staff estimate construction on phase one shouldn’t take more than a year to complete.

Outdoor Café Seating Pilot Program

Normal will explore on-street café seating with a pilot program at Stave this summer.

Council members voted 6-1 to approve the program, amending the Town’s liquor code to allow Stave to serve food and alcohol outdoors.

The Town will allow Stave to build a platform (sometimes called a parklet) on the parking space in front of the building, effectively expanding the sidewalk to accommodate outdoor seating.

The program is expected to begin sometime in July and run through October 15.

Go Further: On-Street Cafe Seating Pilot Program Coming to Stave

Engineering Director Gene Brown to Retire May 31

Normal’s Engineering Director Gene Brown will retire May 31, ending a 33-year career with the Town.

Brown served as the Town’s public works inspector, civil engineer, construction engineer and town engineer before becoming engineering director.

Normal Mayor Chris Koos presented Brown with a proclamation at Monday night’s council meeting commemorating his contributions to the Town, including designing, issuing, reviewing and inspecting over $300M in private projects such as the Ironwood subdivision, Uptown Renewal, and Constitution Trail.