If the 520-space parking garage at the new Water Street District in downtown Naperville looks big, plain and ugly, rest assured, developers say.
The "pretty pieces" are coming.
The $93 million development with a hotel, banquet center, restaurants, shops, offices and Riverwalk improvements is progressing relatively on schedule to open by October or November 2016, says Jeff Prosapio, executive vice president of development for Marquette Companies.
"It's an exciting project," Prosapio said. "You can already kind of see how it's shaping up."
Construction began in April on the 2.4-acre site south of the DuPage River between Main and Webster streets. The project's groundbreaking was a long time coming, as several versions of Water Street plans were presented, approved, delayed, amended and reapproved since 2007.
Now, Prosapio said, utilities are installed, foundations are dug for all buildings but one, the precast concrete walls of the parking garage are standing and steel beams to support one of the retail and restaurant buildings are being placed. The retaining wall for a new Riverwalk section has been built and an alley between the parking garage and existing businesses along Aurora Avenue has been upgraded.
What's still to come is foundation work and construction of the building closest to the Naperville Township headquarters, installation of a plaza, fountain and landscaping, completion of the new Riverwalk segment and build-out of the hotel, a 158-room Hotel Indigo.
Precast concrete walls for the hotel designed to look like stone and masonry will be the "pretty pieces," Prosapio said. They're set to be installed within the next eight weeks by an 800,000-pound crane moving from east to west along the block-long site.
"The precast goes up quickly," he said.
The hotel will wrap around the parking garage, hiding much of the structure, especially from the north. A second-story enclosed bridge will connect portions of the hotel on the south side of Water Street with rooms and the banquet center on the north.
As construction continues, Naperville's iconic sculpture of comic strip detective Dick Tracy is still in need of a new home.
The 9-foot-tall piece was moved to temporary storage in September to allow construction of Riverwalk improvements. Instead of having him placed at a new pedestal by November -- on higher ground farther away from the DuPage River to decrease likelihood of flooding -- Marquette Companies spokeswoman Deb Newman said the detective is expected to be set at his new home sometime next year.
Marquette Companies recently updated its website for the project, waterstreetcommunityinfo.com, to include a still photo of the site taken every 15 minutes from the roof of the nearby Naperville municipal center. The photos also are combined into a time-lapse video.
"We always see people standing across the way," Newman said. "Now it's getting exciting so people do want to see it."
Restaurants and shops announced for the development include Elements Banquets and Events, Bien Trucha Mexican small plates, Blue Sushi Sake Grill, Traveling Tots activity center and children's boutique and London Skye women's apparel.
Prosapio said developers are in talks with a wine bar and a farm-to-table dining concept along with other restaurants and clothing stores.
Marquette Companies aims to deliver stores to tenants after Labor Day, a slight delay from August as previously was projected. The way the timeline looks now, Prosapio predicts much of the development will be up and running by this time next year.
"The holidays are a driver for everyone," he said.