CARBONDALE, IL -
The city of Carbondale is shelling out more than $20 million to have a multi-purpose building planted on the corner of South Illinois Avenue and Freeman Street.
The building will bring more consumers to the area as it will house retail space and a 300 bed apartment complex, but it will also wipeout a significant portion of city parking that small businesses say they depend on.
But, there is no turning back now.
The old SevenTen Bookstore is gone and soon, in its place will stand the controversial, five-story building.
One that B&L Photo owner Bob Marks says is already scaring customers away.
"We've got about 35% less people walking in this store," said Marks.
He says the building is too big and that is going to take up a large amount of his customer parking.
The building will be an entire city blocks length.
"So, there you got 28 spots," said Marks.
He says that is not enough when there is popular pizza joint next door.
If you cross Illinois Avenue for a juicy burger, the opinions on the project change.
Lance Jack doubles as Fat Pattie's owner and city councilman.
He says the project is just what Carbondale needs.
"I think it will help out businesses and just the community in general, having that vibrancy downtown," said Jack.
He says the parking argument is valid, but says the problem will not last.
"Change is just a little painful and difficult for a lot of people," said Jack.
Jack says the city is planning on building additional parking lots once the building is up.
He says it is a win for his small business and for Marks' camera store, but Marks does not buy it.
"I think this is the worst mistake Carbondale ever made," said Marks.
He says after 31 years in the same spot, this project may cause him to pick up and leave.
In addition to the lots the city is planning to construct, the building will have some lower-level parking, but still not enough to house even the maximum amount of residents.
The apartment complex will be ready for tenants by Fall of 2015.