FARMER CITY — The Farmer City Council and a Mahomet-based developer have approved a letter of intent for residential development near Interstate 74 and Illinois 54 on the city’s northeast side.
The project, which will initially involve construction of two eight-unit apartment buildings, is also expected to lead to to neighborhood commercial development on 2 acres.
Shawn Tabeling, manager of Tabeling Development Co., said additional residential and commercial projects could also be coming.
Farmer City Mayor Scott Testory said it’s about time.
“This property should have been developed several councils ago,” he said, adding that he helped to spearhead bringing utilities to that area at a cost of about $1.5 million.
“I really am hopeful this is a catalyst for future development,” Testory said.
Tabeling Development Co. has specialized in development in rural communities for more than 15 years. It has developments in Mahomet, Sullivan and Heyworth and will soon start a new project in Arcola.
City Manager Sue McLaughlin said a market analysis of the property showed the best commercial use would be a travel plaza.
“We’re still reaching out to developers for that type of use in conjunction with what Tabeling is doing,” she said. “He’s leaving enough acreage for us or him to do both. This property has sat for so long.”
Businesses will have the option to buy a 1- to 12-acre lot for a freestanding building, build-to-suit, or lease a space from the proposed multi-tenant building.
McLaughlin said the property has not yet been platted, and a development agreement has to be signed. Tabeling is hoping to turn dirt in the spring and have occupancy no later than the following spring.
Tabeling said Farmer City “has a lot to offer with its convenient access to I-74, several agricultural-related employers and nearby outdoor recreational activities.”