DeKALB – Rezoning to allow construction of a $7.5 million downtown redevelopment project on First Street and Lincoln Highway, called the Cornerstone DeKalb project, was unanimously approved by the DeKalb City Council during its Monday meeting.
Properties at 122 S. First St. and 112-118, 122 and 124 E. Lincoln Highway that were designated as a central business district were rezoned to a planned development commercial district, allowing for their demolition to create a four-story apartment building with surface parking in their place.
The building would include commercial areas on the first floor and 51 fully furnished single-bedroom units on the top three floors.
John Pappas, the principal developer, said he will begin applying for demolition permits Tuesday, and the project would start within 45 days and be completed within a year.
The City Council heard a preliminary presentation of the project during its Feb. 13 meeting. The Planning and Zoning Committee then recommended the development to the council after a public hearing two days later.
Had the city not approved the rezoning request, Pappas might not have been able to acquire all of the properties needed for the project or would have had to pay more to buy them.
Mayor John Rey said the project would be transformational and would be the largest private development built in decades.
Community Development Director Jo Ellen Charlton said that city staff began discussions with the developer in September and October and had to keep the talks private so they would not affect Pappas’ ability to acquire all of the properties.
The estimated cost of $7.5 million would include a $3 million tax increment financing contribution, which an outside financial consultant deemed to be a reasonable investment for the project, Charlton added.
Charlton said that Pappas indicated his willingness to deed the First Street property area to the city to pursue additional parking should any issues arise with the tenants or community members being unable to find parking spots.