The details haven’t been hammered out — the next step takes place in the City Council study session Nov. 10 — but the proposal from local developer Hans Grotelueschen to create a new children’s museum in Champaign has drawn keen interest from the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum board.
“At this point all I can really say is that we as a board are interested in joining the effort that Hans has proposed,” board member Ryan Reid said. “We’re excited to be an active participant.”
Like many in Champaign-Urbana, Reid and other board members are eager to hear more details about Grotelueschen’s proposal for a $95 million mixed-use development in downtown Champaign. The project also includes hotel, conference center, apartments, more parking and commercial office space in an area behind the current Orpheum museum and theater.
A city report last week cited the developer’s desire to “enhance the project by incorporating a new Children’s Museum into the development.”
The project will be discussed at the City Council’s study session Nov. 10.
“The (report) didn’t have too much info,” Reid said. “We’ve discussed some things with Hans but we’re just really excited to see what he has to say about the theater itself and the children’s museum.”
The Orpheum has several times expressed a desire to expand or create a new museum. In 2013, the board suggested it would prefer to attach a new building to the historic Orpheum theater.
“It’s his project, and we’re just excited to be active participant,” Reid said. “Providing a children’s museum that is competitive to the surrounding counties is an interest of ours while creating an educational and fun experience.”