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Demolition expected soon at Small's Furniture in DeKalb

Pappas plans to move fast after DeKalb council OKs loan

DeKALB – John Pappas plans to waste no time in transforming the old Small's Furniture building.

Pappas, owner of Pappas Development, said he hopes to knock down the building at 2211 Sycamore Road by the end of this week.

Provided everything else falls into place, "we're ready to start construction within the next three weeks," Pappas said.

The DeKalb City Council signed off on a $423,900 tax-increment financing loan to Pappas on Monday night to redevelop the Small's Furniture site into a restaurant or retail center.

Bill Finucane, 2nd Ward Alderman, was the only council member to vote "no" on the loan. He did not voice his reasons during the debate, nor did he offer much comment in an interview afterward. He said he voted no at the request of some of 2nd Ward residents.

Pappas said he plans to build a 12,950-square foot retail center, with the main unit occupied by a restaurant.

The city would loan Pappas the $423,900 in two installments, depending on where he is in the construction phase. Officials estimate the city will rake in at least $110,000 a year in new sales tax revenue with the retail center.

Pappas has seven years to repay the city through generation of new sales- and property-tax revenue. However, the city has limited what kind of businesses that are eligible to pay off the loan. A new McDonald's or gas station at the site would not be eligible, for instance.

Counting the land costs, redeveloping the site will cost an estimated $4.2 million, Pappas has said, making economic incentives essential to redevelopment.

The loan Pappas will receive is less than half of the $900,000 the council in October agreed to lend Darden Restaurants to build an Olive Garden on the site. Darden withdrew its plan for the property in February.

Kristen Lash, 3rd Ward Alderwoman, voted for the loan to Pappas, although she had been skeptical in the past.

"I am feeling a little bit better about this," Lash said, adding that she was still concerned about the new retail center sapping dollars from established businesses.

City officials are projecting that 70 percent to 80 percent of the revenue will be considered new.

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