Hampton Inn planned for Paris, Ill.

Submitted photoComing soon: A four-story, 72-room Hampton Inn hotel will be built on Illinois 1 at the south edge of Paris.

A town of 8,300 without an interstate highway may seem an unlikely spot for a Hampton Inn, but a developer says businesses — and city officials — in Paris, Illinois, have sold him on the need for such upscale lodging.

Steve Horve of Decatur-based Horve Builders plans to invest $7.5 million in a four-story, 72-room hotel to be built on Illinois 1 at the south edge of Paris. The City Council on Monday approved a package of incentives worth up to $920,000.

The 2.1-acre site is across the highway from the corporate headquarters of North American Lighting, an expanding business with 1,600 employees, was cited as one reason for the new hotel.

“They’ve got people coming in all the time and they put them up in Terre Haute … a 40-minute drive,” Horve said Tuesday. “If they had a hotel there, they’d put them up there.”

Horizon Health hospital, Dimond Brothers Insurance, Bloomfield Barn, a wedding and event venue in nearby Chrisman, and summer youth baseball leagues also pitched Horve on the need for a hotel.

“I’m awfully excited about it,” said Jill Mattingly, co-owner of Bloomfield Barn. “This exceeds my wildest expectations. I’ve been seeing our guests go to Douglas County and Vermilion County and now we have an Edgar County solution and we’re thrilled about that.”

Horve said pledges from businesses to use his new hotel “all make it work but without that incentive package I wouldn’t have done the deal,” Horve said.

A development incentive agreement the council approved will use funds from the Jasper Street Tax Increment Financing Fund. The city plans to reimburse Horve Builders for costs of land acquisition, architectural and engineering services, water and sewer lines and four years’ of interest expenses. Its location in the city’s enterprise zone makes the development also eligible for an estimated $200,000 in sales tax breaks on construction materials.

“We’ve all got skin in the game,” said Mayor Craig Smith. “We couldn’t be happier. This is so much better than what we thought we were going to end up with … We were looking at entry line hotels.”

City leaders and representatives of Paris Economic Development Corp. have been working for years to attract a hotel developer. The agreement with Horve came together in just the past few months, Smith said.

The Horve family has built more than 60 hotels for other operators and developed more than 20 of its own, Horve said. He credited the involvement of First Mid Bank and Trust, which has financed other hotels with him and recently acquired a branch in Paris, for helping the new Hampton Inn project come together.

Plans call for construction to begin as early as late May with completion in 10 to 12 months, he said.

While there are two budget motels across town, Paris does not now have a hotel.

Tiger Senior Apartments update

Concerning another project, Smith said Tuesday the Illinois Housing Development Authority last week approved final tax credits for an affordable housing project at the former Paris High School.

Tiger Senior Apartments, announced in October 2017, plans for 42 units with studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom options for residents 55 and older.

Developers have also applied for state historic tax credits to assist with redevelopment of the 1909 downtown building.

“We’re looking at some time between now and September for closing and a start date for the apartments,” Smith said.

Dave Taylor can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dave.taylor@tribstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarDave.

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