CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign City Council move forward with a plan to bring new life to the downtown area.

The council voted 9-0 to move forward with plans to construct a building at 47 East Main Street, with retail and housing space. A parking lot currently sits at that address.

Rob Kowalski, Champaign Assistant Planning and Development Director, said it’s good news for the community.

“Coming out of COVID, we are really looking forward for some new projects to start in downtown,” Kowalski said. “We’d love to have more people living downtown, more businesses, more jobs, and keep building the vibrancy of downtown. We need that now more than ever, and we’re really excited to keep moving this project forward.”

Tuesday’s vote is not the final step. The city will negotiate a development agreement that should be presented to the City Council by the end of the year.

Kowalski said that if all goes to plan, the developer likely wouldn’t start until construction prices and interest rates drop. That could mean at least a year-and-a-half before crews break ground.