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WHITING — Rising from the rubble of the old Illiana Hotel at 119th Street and Atchison Avenue is a structure that will share similarities to the hotel that opened in 1928.

Bruce Stolman, the city's economic and community development director, said the new building that is under construction and scheduled for completion in August will be called the Illiana.

Much like the former hotel, the five-story, multiuse building will have commercial space on its ground floor with residential space on the top four floors.

"It's replacing what was there almost like in kind," Stolman said.

But instead of hotel rooms, the upper floors will contain eight two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments available for rent.

While the hotel had businesses such as a restaurant and a lounge on its ground floor, the new Illiana will have 4,158 square feet of commercial space facing 119th Street available for a tenant or tenants yet to be determined. The space can be subdivided into two or three units.

"There's been a little interest, but nothing firm right now, so it's still available," Stolman said.

Plans for the back side of the ground floor call for nine enclosed parking spaces.

A rear parking lot will have space for 16 vehicles to park outside.

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The city acquired the old hotel at no cost through the Lake County property tax sale process in 2013 and had planned to find a developer to renovate it.

But the poor condition of the building made that impossible, and the decision was made to demolish it in 2017 after a large piece of stonework fell from the upper facade.

The Whiting Redevelopment Commission then sold the property to Illiana-Whiting LLC, a division of Holladay Properties.

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Calumet College of St. Joseph, located in Whiting, stands to benefit from the new development because of a lease agreement with Illiana-Whiting that will make 12 of the 32 apartments available for Calumet College students.

Dr. Amy McCormack, president of Calumet College, said the idea is that the apartments would be for people new to the school, either freshmen or transfer students, who are from out of state or beyond a reasonable driving distance.

"The intent really is to provide housing for people that aren't familiar with the local area so when they come, they don't have to try to find housing on their own," McCormack said.

Stolman said Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura brought up the idea of housing for Calumet College students in initial talks with Holladay Properties and the company was open to the idea.

"We're delighted to be part of this exciting initiative in the city of Whiting, but also it's a great turning point for the college to be able to serve those students that are looking for a residential experience as part of their college career," McCormack said.

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