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Article posted: 4/30/2013 9:37 PM

Naperville's Water Street construction to begin by 2014

By Justin Kmitch

Developers say the first visible signs of the coming Water Street District in downtown Naperville will be evident by the end of the year.

Crews will begin clearing the 2.4-acre lot on Water Street and locating utilities by early next year, they said. But first, behind the scenes, developers have begun finalizing interior and exterior design details as leases are signed, preparing construction drawings for permit approval and developing construction timelines and bidding.

"We can now proceed with the ongoing construction and operational details of the project," Marquette Companies Managing Director Nick Ryan said in a written statement Tuesday. "This process will take several months. We anticipate the first work that the public will see will involve building demolition and site work followed by utility location. This could commence by year's end or in early 2014."

The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce is also eagerly awaiting the development's arrival.

"The jobs created by the site preparation and construction, is just a down payment on the long-term economic potential of this portion of downtown," Chamber CEO and President Mike Evans said Tuesday. "Opportunities like this don't come along every day, and this comprehensive redevelopment has been desired by the business and elected leaders of Naperville for more than a decade. It is truly a great moment to see plans meet reality, and a testament to those involved."

The development, which will include a 166-room hotel, 71,000 square feet of commercial space, 26,000 square feet of office space, a 524-space parking deck, improvements along the south shore of the Riverwalk, and a pedestrian bridge connecting the hotel and the office buildings, is expected to open in the fall of 2015.

"We are pleased with the reception the project has received among the retail community, and we look forward to delivering a dynamic mix of retail, restaurant and hotel space by 2015," Ryan said.

The yet-to-be-named hotel will feature riverfront king suites and honeymoon suites. A pedestrian bridge will connect the hotel lobby to the office building with additional Riverfront rooms and suites as well as a rooftop restaurant. Developers also have pledged to partner with the Naperville Heritage Society to develop public spaces "that echo Naperville's history and culture."

Surrounding the hotel, the development will offer a variety of restaurants, retail shops and Naperville's Riverwalk. Downtown businesses north of the DuPage River can be accessed via Main Street and the covered bridge at Webster Street. Expansion of the Riverwalk on the south side of the river will feature brick pavers, an art wall and seating, and will be reached by a broad staircase leading from the plaza and fountain area between the office and theater buildings.

A 524-space public/private parking facility will be adjacent the hotel, providing parking for the Water Street District and additional downtown visitor parking.

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