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University of Illinois Research Park's Hotel and Conference
 Has Name Selected; the "I" Hotel and Conference Center
The News-Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, Ill.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Aug. 11, 2007 - CHAMPAIGN -- Contemporary and distinctive... or egotistical?

A name has been chosen for the new hotel and conference center in the University of Illinois Research Park, and it is "I."

Fox/Atkins Development, which will own the hotel, and the university, which will own the adjacent conference center, announced Thursday they'll call the project the "I" Hotel and Conference Center.

"We knew immediately that the hotel and conference center would be unique, and we knew it needed an equally special brand," said Larret Wright, chief executive officer of Roundtable, the advertising agency that came up with the name.

"Something fresh, yet familiar. Something Illini fans could love. That's how 'the I' brand was born," Wright said in a news release.

The five-story, 126-room hotel is scheduled to open a year from now at the southeast corner of First Street and St. Mary's Road in Champaign.

Next door to it will be a 38,000-square-foot conference center, with a ballroom that can accommodate 700 in theater seating or 540 for banquets.

Also associated with the hotel will be a 220-seat, full-service restaurant.

All three elements of the development will have their own streetside entrances and parking.

The hotel could eventually add another 80 to 100 rooms, and another 50,000 square feet of conference room space could be added, the release stated.

Andrea Ruedi, chief executive officer of Fox Development Corp., said Roundtable came up with a brand that is "contemporary and distinctive."

"The new brand needed to work commercially as a trademark for the hotel and conference center," she said, "and at the same time, brand the conference center facility as a University of Illinois property, without infringing on the university's traditional identity."

"The brand also needed to reflect the architectural design style of Studio F's Patrizio Fradiani, designer of the facility," she said in the release.

The hotel will feature high-speed wireless Internet, iHome/iPod clock radios and LCD flat-screen televisions. Other features include a lobby with fireplace, a fitness room, two VIP suites and direct access to both the conference center and restaurant.

In addition to the 7,000-square-foot ballroom, the conference center will also have a 4,100-square-foot junior ballroom, three medium-size conference rooms, a small conference room, four breakout rooms and a board room.

UI Chancellor Richard Herman, in the release, referred to the project as "a state-of-the-art setting for gatherings for years to come."

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Copyright (c) 2007, The News-Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, Ill.

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