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Otto's building sale completes Cornerstone property acquisition

Demolition for project will wait until May 15, when tenant will be out of building

DeKALB – Developers on Friday acquired the final building expected to be demolished to make room for the $7.5 million Cornerstone apartment and commercial building planned for downtown DeKalb.

The vacant building around 112 to 118 E. Lincoln Highway, the former home of Otto's Niteclub, sold for $300,000 after the acquisition of neighboring properties on 122 S. First Street and 122 E. Lincoln Highway.

In all, developers of the project have paid $1,064,000 for the four properties they plan to repurpose, records show. The city of DeKalb is directing a $3 million tax increment financing contribution to the effort – about 40 percent of the projected cost.

City officials have sought to demolish or repair the building, which has experienced significant water and mold damage, through a court order filed last year.

Jason Michnick, DeKalb economic development planner, said that principal project developer John Pappas plans to start mold and asbestos remediation efforts required by the Environmental Protection Agency this week, along with a rodent abatement program.

“Mr. Pappas is planning on starting demolition May 15, due to one of the property's tenants that had asked for an extension to get out of their building,” Michnick said.

Jo Ellen Charlton, DeKalb community development director, said that a meeting in coming weeks could help community stakeholders determine where fences will go, where and for how long traffic will need to be shut down, and other variables related to the demolition.

“The city will work proactively to minimize the negative impacts on the downtown area," Charlton said.

Pappas also is finalizing work with ComEd to relocate some overhead wires between the Otto's building and the First Street property, currently the Barb City Bagels building, Charlton added.

Records show that three businesses recently were sold in that area. The Barb City Bagels building sold for $475,000; a property at 122 E. Lincoln Highway housing a Mediterraneo restaurant sold for $188,000; and the former Glitter building at 124 E. Lincoln Highway sold for $101,000.

Pappas has said construction of the project shouldn't take longer than a year.

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