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MURPHYSBORO — As part of the Apple Tree Inn fell to the pavement Monday, Murphysboro officials expressed a sense of optimism for the future of the town.

“With spring comes new life, and a sense of new growth and a sense of beginnings,” Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens said at the site of the hotel demolition. “For Murphysboro, today marks the start of a new beginning as we make way for economic development, new jobs and a new face to the gateway of our community.”

The longtime Murphysboro hotel closed its doors June 1, after a foreclosure sale was finalized in the Jackson County Circuit Court the same day.

Joe Koppeis, a developer from Columbia, purchased the motel in an auction for $125,000. County court records show the former owners Vincent Piece, Nitaben Patel, Vinus Patel and Kirit Purohit were involved in the May 4 auction.

They had owned the property since 2007, when they bought the motel from Angelo Fiorino. He owned the property for 31 years.

Koppeis said Monday that his vision for the site includes fast-food developments, restaurants and some retail space.

“It is very fluid and very much in motion,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of anything determined today, but I think all of those things will happen.”

Koppeis said the attitude of the city has been influential in giving him the willingness to move forward and develop the nearly 30-acre property. He said there will likely be a three- to four-story chain hotel.

The development includes the hotel, the Apple Dome pool, a number of houses and the clearing of timber leading to the Big Muddy River. This past fall, that 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.

The Apple Tree Inn definitely doesn’t lack history. Fiorino was on hand Monday to share some history about the site.

He 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.

Fiorino said he decided to build the Apple Dome after Murphysboro lost its city pool, which was the place where elementary students learned how to swim.

“This corner was the focal point of Murphysboro,” he said. “Everything seemed to rotate off of it.”

Fager-McGee officials said Monday the demolition and clean-up will take about four weeks.

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dustin.duncan@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

on twitter: @zd2000

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