For sale: Former Urbana University campus is on the market

The old Urbana University campus has been listed for sale. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
The old Urbana University campus has been listed for sale. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

What was once a branch campus to Franklin University in Champaign County, is now for sale.

The 50,784 square feet campus remains intact and has 22 buildings. In an effort to bring the property back to life, commercial real estate firm CBRE placed it on the market. There is no list price for the property.

Urbana University closed its doors at the beginning of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.

“The global coronavirus pandemic has added a level of stress and uncertainty to Urbana’s prospects that make it impossible to sustain, compelling Franklin University to discontinue physical operations on the branch campus effective after the May Spring 2020 semester has ended, ” according to the university website.

Explore‘It’s a huge loss’: Urbana University’s closure to affect 350 students, 111 jobs

CBRE’s Anne Rahm and Todd Greiner are marketing the campus for sale on behalf of the owner, Franklin University.

“The Urbana campus listing is a rare opportunity for both educational and institutional users as well as investors looking for a unique redevelopment opportunity,” said Rahm, Midwest regional manager for CBRE’s Public Institutions and Education Group. “The park-like setting and recent upgrades make it a turnkey purchase for institutional users or investors can repurpose the existing facilities for adaptive re-use including residential conversion, senior-living or off-site corporate training.”

Urbana University has new athletic facilities, a solar panel field, and surplus land. And in case a buyer was wondering how many rooms it has, well over 500 in its nine dormitories.

There is also a theatre and a racquetball court.

ExploreUrbana University’s closure adds to Champaign County economic pain

The university campus is also rich with history.

Urban University was founded in 1850 as a seminary by Rev. James Parke Stuart, Col. John James, Milo Williams and other members of the Swedenborgian Church and ”evolved into a vibrant liberal arts institution,” according to the university’s website.

The closure directly affected 350 students and 111 full-time employees, according to school officials at the time.

Champaign County officials were also bracing for the economic impact.

In August, Sara Neer, executive director of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, said they are telling business owners that “a plan is coming.”

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