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Holiday Inn lot

The lot in Murphysboro where a Holiday Inn Express is proposed to be built is pictured in December of 2018.

MURPHYSBORO — In a recent visit to the Murphysboro City Council, the developer behind the proposed Holiday Inn Express at the corner of Illinois 13 and 127 said the project could break ground this upcoming spring.

The project, which began turning its wheels in 2015 when the property was purchased, has routinely hit delays. Most recently, the application for the entryway into the property has been held up at the Illinois Department of Transportation. However, developer Joe Koppeis said during the Dec. 20 meeting that this was being resolved.

Koppeis told the council that IDOT had signed off and they were “99.9 percent finished with that process.”

Another setback came from the weather — Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens previously told The Southern that some of the site preparation for the hotel was undone when massive amounts of rain came in late summer, causing sandy soil to slide and break a sewer main.

This has been corrected, however, and Koppeis assured the Council on Thursday that the cost of repairs wouldn’t fall on the city’s shoulders.

“(It) should not be on the city, it should be on us,” he said.

Koppeis said Thursday that he is hoping to have the project on track for a spring groundbreaking, about a year behind the initial projection of May 2018.

“I really don’t see anything that can go wrong that hasn’t already happened,” he said, also admitting that projects like these are slow-going.

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“It’s a long process, nothing happens quick,” he said.

Koppeis said that the hotel, when finished, should feature around 84 rooms. He also again Thursday reiterated interest in displaying a large statue of the Big Muddy Monster, Murphysboro’s own elusive cryptid primate, outside of the hotel. Stephens told The Southern that he hoped the statue would drum up interest on social media.

Stephens also said that the new street development has the road marked as “Muddy Monster Way.”

A creature was sighted around midnight June 26, 1973, by a couple in a car parked near the boat launch area on the Big Muddy River, just east …

Along with the hotel, Koppeis is working to develop a small retail space at the site of the former Apple Tree Inn. He’s been cagey about who the tenants might be — and Koppeis couldn’t be reached for this story — but Stephens did say that Koppeis has told him there is a contract from a fast food chain to build on the site.

Stephens said details on the who and when would only be based on rumors and conjecture.

As previously reported in The Southern, 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 Apple Tree Inn from Angelo Fiorino, who had owned the property for 31 years.

He purchased the property on July 4, 1976, but he said it was constructed in the 1950s, when former owner Glenn Williams built a 20-unit motel called A.F.D.K., named for his daughter.

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isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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Isaac Smith is a reporter covering Jackson County.

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