Route 66 in the News

City Officials Still Seeking New Use for Bel-Aire Motel

2011-12-15 16:45:53

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Electrical, structural and fire safety repairs ordered last summer at the Bel-Aire Motel have been completed, but inspectors still are called to the property from time to time, city officials say.

Ward 6 Ald. Cory Jobe requested the special inspection in mid-June in hopes of building interest in alternative uses for the former motel at 2636 S. Sixth St. The Bel-Aire, originally constructed in the 1960s, now rents mostly to longer-term tenants.

“We get calls about violations every month or two,” said city building manager John Sadowski, who added that inspectors were called to the Bel-Aire in just the last couple of weeks.

Efforts to reach owners Gopal and Nimal Motwani were unsuccessful Thursday. But Sadowski said the Motwanis, who list an address in Florida on property tax records, came to Springfield to supervise repairs ordered last summer.

“They did take care of the ones we cited,” said Sadowski, adding that the department is considering a follow-up inspection, room-by-room.

Updates ordered last summer included repair and replacement of carbon-monoxide detectors, replacement of faulty emergency and exit lights, weatherproofing, downspout repairs, exterior scraping and painting, and repairing rotting wood.

Residents also had been grilling within 10 feet of the building, in violation of city safety codes.

The summer inspection also was requested in an effort to revive interest in a Route 66 museum and visitors center on the site of the Bel-Aire. The late Mayor Tim Davlin first proposed the idea three years ago.

Jobe, whose ward includes the Bel-Aire, said those talks continue. He added that there have been discussions with the Motwanis, as well a potential developer. According to a commercial real estate listing, the owners are asking $900,000 for the 80-room property.

The Sangamon County assessor put the fair market value at about $755,000.

Jobe said, however, the immediate focus remains enforcement of city building codes.

“The city is starting to ramp up inspections like they have at the MacArthur Boulevard apartments,” said Jobe. “We want to keep the attention there.”

City officials said last week slow progress has been made toward repair of hundreds of safety violations at the 170-unit MacArthur Park complex, 2715 S. MacArthur Blvd.

~Tim Landis,


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