Town of Normal looking for new developers of Trail East redevelopment project in Uptown

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NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — The Town of Normal is once again seeking developers for its Trail East redevelopment project in Uptown Normal.

The project was slated to begin this past October but was stalled after the original developer, Bush Construction, backed out of the project after three years in September.

Thursday, Town of Normal staff put out a request-for-proposals (RFP), seeking a new developer for the long-overdue Trail East redevelopment project that would combine retail and residential space.

Cathy Oloffson, the town’s director of communications, said after nearly two months of the project grinding to a halt, it’s finally back on track.

“Town staff heard from several potential developers and some of them indicated an interest in developing both Trail East and Trail West,” Oloffson said.

Due to that demand, Oloffson said the city manager and other staff decided to put out the RFP and are looking to spruce up both sides of the trail at once.

“Ideally, that would be the best-case scenario is working with a single developer who shares the town’s vision for Uptown Normal,” Oloffson said.

The Trail Eastside should already be under construction. It was slated to begin in October under Bush Construction, an Iowa-based company, but they backed out two months ago. Sarah McManus, co-owner of the Garlic Press, which is on the West trailside of the circle, said she was disappointed to hear the news of Bush backing out.

“It was going to represent more customers to our store and to other stores, all of Uptown,” McManus said.

For those who don’t know, Trail East and Trail West are the set of shops and businesses between Constitution Blvd in Uptown Normal. Trail East is located at 104 East Beaufort Street and Trail West is located at 102 W. North Street.

McManus said she supports any development that comes to either the East or West trail.

“That only means better business for us which creates more tax dollars for our local tax base; it’s good for our town, it’s good for our business,” McManus said.

She said she is hopeful the additional living spaces at the development create more foot traffic for her store and other stores in Uptown.

“We right now have on a regular basis; there’s the condos across the street from us, all the people that live in there shop at this store,” McManus said.

Oloffson said staff is taking proposals until Dec 3rd, and they hope a bid will be on the council’s agenda sometime in early 2022.

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