DeKALB – A Chicago-based real estate company is considering converting a nearly-century old DeKalb building into apartments, but needs to do more research and get city approval before moving forward.
The building at 145 Fisk Ave., was home to School District 428's administrative offices until 1992. From its construction in 1922 until 1965, it was St. Mary's Hospital.
Mark Bell, co-founder and principal partner with Harbor Bay Real Estate, said his company is in the preliminary stages of the development. He would not disclose how many units or what rent prices are being considered, but said the apartments would be suited for a "versatile" range of tenants.
Harbor Bay has been investigating the building for six months, according to Bell. In the next couple of months, Bell said it will become clear as to wether or not his company would move forward with the development.
"We're working with the city, contractors and developers to make sure it's feasible with the projected rents that we are anticipating," Bell said, adding the company is still evaluating how much the renovation would cost.
Bell said his company would purchase the building if the plans move forward.
According to DeKalb County online property tax records, it is owned by George Ardelean, of Midwest Estate Development LLC.
The company has not considered asking for any development incentives from the city, Bell said.
Allowing the residential development complements the Downtown DeKalb Revitalization plan and the City Center plan, said Derek Hiland, principal planner for the city. The building is five blocks north of Lincoln Highway and is bordered to the west by First Street, and adding residents could help support area businesses.
"There is some synergy occurring there," Hiland said. "Hopefully, with more people living closer to the downtown district, we can have a day- and nighttime population."
The City Council would have to approve an ordinance altering the zoning for the property from neighborhood commercial to planned development residential in order for the plan to move ahead. The zoning change first needs to be approved by the Zoning and Planning Commission, according to Hiland.
A public hearing on the zoning change is scheduled for the commission meeting Feb. 26. After the public hearing, commission members could move the zoning change forward or ask the developer to alter the plans.
If zoning commissioners support the plan, it could appear on the City Council's agenda in March.