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Normal Set To Fill Hole in Uptown

NORMAL - The wait is nearly over for residents of the Twin Cities.
NORMAL - The wait is nearly over for residents of the Twin Cities. Momentum for the Hyatt hotel had been building for months, but deals with local contractors continued to push the start date back.

Construction is expected to start on that hole in the ground on Monday, and businesses say it can't go up fast enough.

Hyatt Hotel construction will take several months, but town leaders say the project won't cause an inconvenience for most people.

"The site is very constrained. We've got Uptown Station to the south and the Marriott Hotel to the west, and those are the two entities that are sort of sacred down here. We can't really disrupt them,” said Uptown manager Joe Tulley.

Two small stretches of sidewalk will be closed, and some businesses will lose their back alley space.

"There's a little bit of parking there. All that's going to go away. That'll be a staging area,” explained Tulley.

Some lane closures are possible, too, but businesses like Medici are used to that.

"They close the streets around here, probably once a week, you know every two weeks anyway. And they do a lot of street festivals, so you come to Uptown, you expect there to be something,” said Medici executive chef Jeremiah Tryon.

But with 60 construction workers coming in most days, Tryon says that potential bonus business is beautiful.

"We'd love to have them in. Us, the Garlic Press, the Rock are all going to be pretty happy,” said Tryon.

And town leaders say construction certainly beats the alternative.

"Having a nice, beautiful hotel in your back yard is much better than having a big empty lot,” said Tulley.

"Town officials say Phase One should only be a minor inconvenience. A couple of sidewalks like right here on Broadway Street will be closed. The next phase could potentially have a lot more closures.

Phase Two of the construction will include commercial and residential space. The total cost of the project is about $45 million.

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