Urbana Hotel part of effort to bring more lodging to the area

Credit: Hasan Karim

Credit: Hasan Karim

A newly celebrated $7 million dollar hotel in Urbana is part of an effort in Champaign County to spur economic development.

A feasibility study conducted in 2018 showed that Urbana could support another hotel in the area that could offer up to 80 additional rooms, said Marcia Bailey, with the Champaign Economic Partnership.

This month, civic and business leaders celebrated the official opening of the 54-room Cobblestone Hotel & Suites.

The hotel is located on 170 State Route 55 in Urbana and is one of the 153 properties in the Cobblestone Hotel and Suites chain.

The company, headquartered in Wisconsin, was founded in 2008 and had been in conversations with the city since 2015. At the time the hotel chain only had 41 locations.

“From the standpoint of choosing Urbana, at the end of the day they chose us. The city was looking at different brands to come in and work with. They had a few investors lined up that were local and they were looking for someone to partner with that could help them get past the finish line,” said Jeremy Griesbach, the president of development for Cobblestone.

Griesbach said it took about four years to get everything ready to start building, including finding a location, getting land rezoned as well as securing funding for the project that totaled around $7 million.

Representatives of the Cobblestone said that their main focus is small town America and factors such as industry and recreation opportunities in and around Urbana made the area appealing to them.

Credit: Hasan Karim

Credit: Hasan Karim

City officials were interested in adding more lodging to the area prior to the study as they wanted to take advantage of local tourism as well as business travel.

The study was conducted to highlight several areas related to economic development and was done to show how much hotel space could be added to the area.

Bailey said the study showed that they could support a hotel like the Cobblestone in addition to preexisting lodging choices in the city and the county.

The study played to factors such as having the Urbana University, which drew people for sporting events or family visits. However, it closed last year.

“We were a little nervous when (Urbana University) closed. But we had so many business people telling us they were going to use (the Hotel), so it still made total sense,” Bailey said.

Credit: Hasan Karim

Credit: Hasan Karim

Construction started in 2019 and the hotel opened in June. The hotel employs eight people.

“It is a great facility for that corporate traveler. It is also a great facility for that family that is traveling for recreation or to visit family,” Griesbach said.

Facts & Figures

$7 million: Cost to build the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites

8: Number of hotel employees

54: Number of rooms at the hotel

About the Author