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Local

Long-vacant Campus Cinemas building demolished this week

The Campus Cinemas building on Blackhawk Road in DeKalb is partially torn down Tuesday afternoon.
The Campus Cinemas building on Blackhawk Road in DeKalb is partially torn down Tuesday afternoon.

DeKALB – A long-vacant movie theater was demolished in DeKalb this week, as crews could be seen Tuesday bringing down the former Campus Cinemas building after the City of DeKalb won ownership of the space in August.

The City of DeKalb has been granted a lien for the former Campus Cinemas, 1015 Blackhawk Road, in the amount of $400,000, said DeKalb City Attorney John Donahue after ongoing litigations. The building was owned by Pete Occhipinti, who has over the years petitioned multiple times for a special-use permit to revamp the single-story 15,200-square-foot building. The city denied his request.

Back in September 2016, city officials recommended the commission deny giving a recommendation to the city council for approval of the redevelopment, for a number of reasons, including safety concerns about adding two more stories onto an already feeble structure, as well as parking concerns.

Notably, the roof of the Campus Cinemas building collapsedin November 2017, according to a previous Daily Chronicle report.

Once the deed was handed to the City, $375,000 was transferred to Occhipinti's attorney's client fund, Donahue said, but not right away. He'll get half when the building is torn down, and the remaining half when the demolition is complete and the area is cleared to a vacant lot, city officials said in August.

City Manager Bill Nicklas said the city plans to put the parcel up for redevelopment opportunities, and that the plan is to have the building come down and the land graded before winter.

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