CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -
Evolve, the new apartment complex on U.S. Hwy. 51 across from SIUC, is not even finished and is already 54 percent full. Carbondale leaders hope the complex will help revitalize the downtown area, which has lost several businesses in the past few years.
Fully stuffed, the complex would hold a total a 349 residents, in apartments ranging from one bedroom to four bedroom setups.
There have been questions raised about parking for those residents, but Evolve leasing and marketing manager Kyle Feigenbaum says he does not foresee resident parking as a major issue.
According to Feigenbaum, 178 spots will be available for the 349 potential residents.
38 slots are in the building's basement for a $75 per month charge, 20 spots will be adjacent to the building, available for $35 per month, and an additional 120 spots will be available roughly one city block away, at a cost of $35 for 12 months.
Feigenbaum said the Washingtom lot will be repaved and extended to allow for more parking, and the company plans to rent a parking lot from SIU if there is more spillover. That lot is located behind the SIU Recreational center, a little over a half mile away.
"Every resident who has a car, will have a place to park" Feigenbaum said.
A 24-hour fitness center, game room, retail restaurants, and an outdoor courtyard are also being built.
"The building looks like a giant cube, but it's actually open in the center," Feigenbaum said. "There's going to be fire pits, barbecue grills, and an outdoor TV with surround sound."
Representatives with the Carbondale Main Street Organization say their hope is that the new source of foot traffic will help to revitalize the area.
“You have businesses that have a bigger return, because you have residents that can see their sign right outside their window.” Said Carbondale Main Street Executive Director Meghan Cole
Residents agree. “When you have more people hanging around and walking around and moving, It seems like a better place to hang out and actually enjoy yourself. Said SIU student Eric Radziszewski, who was strolling down the strip on Thursday as he made his way home.
Despite the positive long-term implications of the development, some business operators say the development might have put a strain on some existing businesses. Nukahala Chinese Restaurant owner William Lo used to operate his business from just over a block away from Evolve. Lo said over the phone on Friday his rent doubled in March of 2014 after project began, which forced him to move to a new location near the corner of Wall and Grand, nearly a mile away from the strip. Two other businesses in the same building are now vacant as well.
Cole said that it's common for a downtown area to have high turnover in businesses, and says the strip is a work in progress. “We have this big project, but we have other smaller projects that have really kind of come after this, and that's what we need to see; more people investing in their property, more people seeing success stories like this development, and I think we're on a really big upturn for the Downtown.”
Officials say weather permitting, the apartments are expected to be finished in mid-July, with an official move-in date on August 10.