MURPHYSBORO — The Holiday Inn Express at the corner of Illinois 13 and 127 in Murphysboro should begin construction by the end of the summer, according to developer Joe Koppeis on Tuesday at the Murphysboro Council meeting.
Koppeis said the hotel will have 75 rooms and the final conceptual drawings will be complete by Friday and turned in to IGH, which brands include Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, EVEN Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, Hualuxe, InterContinental, Kimpton Hotels and Resorts and Staybridge Suites.
He said the most recent delay in the development came from him attempting to make a few changes to the structure of the hotel. In the Sparta Holiday Inn Express, Koppeis said many people use the exercise room and sparingly use the pool, so his thought was to increase the size of the exercise room in Murphysboro and eliminate the pool. However, that plan was rejected because Holiday Inn wants all the hotels to be uniform throughout the country.
As for additional tenants at the site, Koppeis said he has a letter of intent executed with a fast food restaurant but did not name the establishment. He also said he has been working with three convenience stores and gas stations but can’t move forward until the fast food restaurant deal in complete. He said Save-A-Lot and The Dollar Tree are interested, but there have not been concrete conversations.
Koppeis said Tuesday that bid documents should go out in the next 30 days and before the end of the summer, construction should get started. He said construction will take bout a year to complete, pending some IDOT permits that are still needed for an additional entrance north on 127.
The developer said he will attempt to work with local contractors including building a statue of the Big Muddy Monster on the premises.
“We have a long list of local contractors and will be receiving bids from all of them,” Koppeis said. “We always try to do whatever we can wherever we are.”
He also said the company is in Murphysboro to stay.
“We are not building and then leaving,” Koppeis said. “I think it will be a good project for the community and a good project for all of us.”
He said the total investment is “way up in the millions.” Typically, he said a shopping center is about a $10 million investment and a hotel is about $7 million.
As a joke, he called Mayor Will Stephens a “pain in the butt” due to constant communication but said it was a compliant.
“You are the reason we are here,” Koppeis said. “Because of the interest and the follow up that you made with us.”
The site was home to the former The Apple Tree Inn, which was was demolished about two years ago. The demolition also included the Apple Dome pool, a number of houses and the clearing of timber leading to the Big Muddy River. In the fall of 2015, the area was declared a Tax-Increment Financing, or TIF, district. That designation allows taxes collected over a base amount to be used for economic development within that TIF district.
Koppeis purchased the property at auction in May 2015 for $125,000. Former owners of the property include Vincent Piece, Nitaben Patel, Vinus Patel and Kirit Purohit, who owned it for about eight years after buying the motel from Angelo Fiorino. He owned the property for 31 years.
Fiorino purchased the property on July 4, 1976, but he said it was constructed in the 1950s. He said the former owner Glenn Williams built a 20-unit motel called A.F.D.K., named for his daughter.