URBANA – After a year ’ south delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, solve has begun on renovating a long-closed downtown Urbana hotel. Plans are to reopen the building as the Hotel Royer, with the promise of city finance if the work is completed .
The new name honors the hotel ’ south architect, Urbana native Joseph Royer, whose early buildings include Urbana High School, the Champaign County Courthouse and the Urbana Free Library .
Haaris Pervaiz, with development/ownership firm Icon Hospitality, says naming the hotel after its locally-known architect is share of their strategy to open an upscale boutique hotel in the closely 100-year-old construction. The firm is seeking a brand agreement with the Hilton hotel chain, using its Tapestry Collection By Hilton brand .
“ We ’ rhenium going to keep the existing structure and keep the existing history to this hotel, but in truth elevate the look, elevate the experience for it, ” said Pervaiz.

The Hotel Royer will be the one-fifth list for the hotel, which first opened in 1924 as the Urbana-Lincoln. It besides operated as Jumer ’ s Castle Lodge and the Historic Lincoln Hotel, before developer Xiao Jin Yuan reopened it in 2012 as the Urbana Landmark Hotel. But renovation costs were higher than expected, and the Urbana Landmark closed in 2016, never having reopened its restaurant and conference space. The hotel was put up for auction in 2017, and finally mho erstwhile in 2020 metric ton o Icon Hospitality .
Pervaiz says he wants the Hotel Royer to be a unique topographic point for travelers to stay but besides a meeting spotlight for local residents who come to its restaurant, banish and conference spaces .
“ We think that this marketplace actually needs an upscale hotel with character, a hotel that has a lot of history that is an excite eclectic experience for guests to visit. ”
Parvaiz says the Hotel Royer will have modern rooms, but keep a authoritative look in its common areas. He says their plans address a unique design challenge : the Lincoln Square shopping plaza was built onto the hotel in the 1960s, and the master movement entrance faces into the promenade ’ s food court. Since then, a porte-cohere has been added to what once was the spinal column of the hotel to serve as a new main entrance .
Pervaiz says their solution will be to create a raw front desk for the newer capture, and convert the original front desk area into a lobby banish .
“ so that ’ randomness going to have a set of haunt quad, a bunch of outer space for people to gather in social settings, enjoy a cocktail, have a new world chat with their friends, ” said Pervaiz. “ It ’ s going to be a very dynamic and alert lobby. ”

meanwhile, the hotel ’ s long-closed Alumni Tap, which besides opens into Lincoln Square Mall, will be used for the hotel ’ s fitness center .
Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin says the city is ready to reimburse at least $ 5.2 million of Icon Hospitality ’ south construction expenses, but only after Icon Hospitality meets the terms of their agreement .
“ They won ’ t receive any money from the city until the ( Tapestry ) trade name is secured and the project is basically completed, ” said Marlin .
ferment on the hotel was supposed to begin final summer, alone to be delayed a class by the COVID-19 pandemic. Marlin says she feels better about the project, now that renovations are finally afoot .
“ Every milestone that ’ s meet, I feel a little bit better, ” said Marlin. “ And finally we ’ rhenium going to have the best, biggest reopening celebration you ’ ve always seen in the city of Urbana. ”

The former developer, Xiao Jin Yuan, returned bonus money to the city of Urbana, having failed to meet a requirement to reopen the facility ’ s restaurant and conference center .
Pervaiz says the exterior of the hotel will be fixed up, but remain largely as it is, including its across-the-board Tudor Revival façade. Mayor Marlin notes that due to its Local Historic Landmark condition, any changes to the outside of the hotel must be cleared by Urbana ’ s Historic Preservation Commission .
Pervaiz says work is afoot on clearing out the building ’ s inside for the renovations to come, while external, the hotel ’ sulfur roof is being replaced. He says they hope to have the Hotel Royer ready to open by late 2022 .