Next step for Landmark Hotel could be lawsuit

The owner of the Urbana Landmark Hotel is feeling the pressure as a four-year project drags on. 60 rooms are open. The owner says the remaining 68 are complete and waiting for inspection, but now city leaders could be looking at legal action. And, the man who took on the task of restoring the hotel now says he may have bitten off more than he could chew.

These doors have been opening to an unfinished hotel for years. As the owner shows us around, he believes these rooms will be filled within weeks, but it's come at a price.

"I have been enslaved by this project for the last four years."

Eventually, the stress of finishing and rarely seeing his family led to Yuan looking for someone to take over. So, the city filed a court judgment giving it the option of suing for the million dollar investment if Yuan or a new owner doesn't live up to the promises.

"If they want to sue me, I just want to ask them one simple question, for what reason?"

But, city developer Libby Tyler says it's just a precautionary measure.

"It protects us in the event, for example, of new ownership of the hotel. We want to make sure that the hotel is fully open and operating under the terms of our agreement."

Despite his dedication, the results haven't met the contract. He and city leaders agreed the building would be complete in December 2012. Two years later, promises are just now being met.

"People say, 'Oh, why hasn't this project been finished?' The reality is, money can not solve everything in this 92 year old building."

Tyler says the original deadline might have been a little ambitious. The building sat unused for years. Yuan says he understands why.

"They didn't want this project. They didn't want this building. They were smarter than I was."

Yuan says weather played a role in this year's delays. The swimming pool and kitchen are next on the to-do list. That's if the city wants it completed.#


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