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Developer plans luxury apartments for downtown DeKalb

DeKALB – A housing developer wants to raze several downtown buildings, including one that was home to Otto’s, to make way for commercial space and up to 55 luxury apartments.

In a public notice printed in Monday’s edition of the Daily Chronicle, a rezoning petition was filed for the four buildings at 112 E. Lincoln and
118 E. Lincoln, which are part of the same building, 122 E. Lincoln, 124 E. Lincoln and 122 S. First.

Cornerstone Development LLC filed the rezoning petition. However, city officials said John Pappas of Pappas Development is the principal developer behind the project.

Pappas owns the property on 124 E. Lincoln Highway and has a contract to buy the others. He said all of the buildings are currently under contract and declined to comment further.

The plan is to knock down all four and replace them with a four-story residential and commercial building.

The city asked a judge in October for permission to demolish the Otto’s building, which has been vacant since it was declared uninhabitable after a burst pipe more than three years ago.

“I’m pleased to see this investment coming forward,” DeKalb Mayor John Rey said. “It will help diversify and balance the tax base in the downtown sector, which will lessen the tax burden on property owners throughout the community.”

Businesses including Barb City Bagels and Mediterraneo Grill, which experienced water leakage and other problems because of the deterioration of the neighboring vacant building, would have to relocate if the buildings are demolished.

“The Otto’s building has been vacant and unoccupied for a while and that certainly does nothing to help nearby businesses,” Community Development Director Jo Ellen Charlton said. “We have been waiting for someone to make that first move of an investment, and hopefully this will be someone with the confidence of moving forward with an investment which will spawn other opportunities in the area.”

The plans would require the demolition of the affected buildings to erect a new building, which will consist of a first-floor for commercial use and up to 55 one-bedroom luxury apartments on the upper floors.

Charlton said owners of Barb City Bagels plan to remain in the downtown area and city staff is working with Cornerstone Development on an agreement to allow Mediterraneo Grill to relocate within the city.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Feb. 15 at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St., DeKalb, to address redevelopment plans for these buildings.

Before a hearing takes place, the matter will be brought up as new business during DeKalb’s City Council meeting Feb. 13. Rey said he anticipates the council would consider the proposed project by its Feb. 27 meeting.

People who are interested in attending the public hearing can submit written comments on the proposals to the city of DeKalb’s Community Development Department at 200 S. Fourth St. by 5 p.m. Feb. 8.

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