The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Danville, IL

November 17, 2006

Crews demolish Redwood Inn

Legendary motel, eatery faded over the years

DANVILLE — In the 1970s and 1980s, many area newlyweds honeymooned in the Redwood Inn’s private cabins, which featured waterbeds and sunken whirlpool tubs

But earlier this month, excavating crews reduced the 60 or so red-roofed, chalet-style cabins into acres of ruble visible from Interstate 74.

The demolition marks the end of the 43-year history of the Redwood Inn, which opened in May 1963 as a restaurant and quickly gained landmark status for its smorgasbord. Guests would fly in and land at the Redwood Inn’s private airstrip to dine at the famous eatery.

City officials, however, view the demolition of the motel complex at 411 Lynch Road as a beginning that clears the way for new development.

The site has been for sale since at least early spring. A Danville Realtor’s sign markets the property as suitable for commercial development on 2 to 13 acres.

“What we would like to see is something that is tourism friendly,” said Jeanie Cooke, executive director of the Danville Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

Cooke said she learned from a local contractor that the motel’s owner and Realtor “thought the property would be more likely to sell without the buildings on it,” prompting the demolition.

AHL Asbestos Removal and Demolition of Louisville, Ky. is in charge of the demolition.

Cooke said over the last year she’s received “numerous calls from developers” interested in the Lynch Road corridor near I-74, although no one mentioned the Redwood Inn site specifically.

“They ask what our occupancy is, our daily (hotel) rates, tourism activity during the year and economic impact information,” she said.

Cooke said she would almost prefer a restaurant over a hotel chain at the site.

“That’s one area where we could have more out there,” she said.

“The more you have, the more people you pull off the interstate.”

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