County council holds special meeting on former nursing home

Feb. 1—URBANA — The Champaign County Council is seeking public input as it considers whether to lift a restrictive covenant on the former CU University Rehabilitation Center and allow use of the property as something other than a retirement home.

The board will hold a special study session to discuss the topic and answer questions Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. in the Shields-Carter meeting room at the Brookens Administrative Center in Urbana, said County Executive Steve Summers.

The former nursing home property at 500 Art Bartell Road in Urbana is being listed by Frontline Real Estate Partners on behalf of M&T Bank. Summers said it has been marketed to dozens of entities, both as a skilled nursing facility and for other uses.

“Currently they have received five offers, all of which are significantly less than the outstanding mortgage amount and not all of them are for nursing facilities,” he said.

Going forward, the county board will have to decide whether to lift the deed restriction it placed on the property when it was sold in 2019, in exchange for payment from the bank. The covenant stipulated that the former Champaign County Nursing Home site could only be used as a nursing home until 2028.

The alternative, Summers said, is to keep the restrictions in place and allow the property to remain vacant until the mandate expires on Dec. 31, 2027.

He expects the next meeting to be all talk, as the county lacks additional information from the bank, such as how much it would pay the county to lift the restriction. They also did not share details about the offers they received.

CU’s University Rehabilitation Center was closed by its owners last spring. William Rothner, principal of University Rehab Real Estate LLC, previously appealed to the Champaign County Council for a waiver of the restrictive covenant.

In the fall of 2023, Champaign County Judge Ben Dyer approved an order in a lawsuit regarding unpaid mortgage debt for the…

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