Northern Star



NIU ALumni

Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student news organization since 1899


Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Greek Life Center construction delayed until March

DeKalb buys barbed wire factory
Rachel Cormier
Alderwoman Carolyn Zasada asks the council to reconsider approving the real estate contract between the city and D-N-J Properties, Inc. on Monday at the DeKalb City Council meeting. (Rachel Cormier | Northern Star)

DeKALB – NIU’s plans to start construction of its Greek Life Center in the Annie Glidden neighborhood near Greek Row will be extended to March while the project awaits funding.

The NIU Foundation does not have the funds to build the center, but the foundation announced at the July 10 DeKalb City Council meeting that it intends to raise the funds via the university’s $500 million fundraising campaign.

The city agreed to extend the university’s time to purchase and redevelop the property between the intersection of West Hillcrest Drive and Blackhawk known as the “L” until the NIU Foundation gathers the funds to begin building the property.

Since the city approved the NIU Foundation’s redevelopment agreement at an Aug. 28 City Council meeting, the NIU Foundation reported its reason for building its center was for the development of Greek Life at NIU. 

Matt Streb, chief strategy officer and liaison for the Board of Trustees, said the foundation sent a request for proposals for architectural and engineering firms. 

The foundation additionally hired a consultant who specialized in capital fundraising for Greek organizations, according to a letter from the NIU Foundation. 

The extension will allow the foundation to fundraise the project until March 31, 2024, when it will show the city its capacity to fund and redevelop the project as originally intended.


The approval of a real estate contract is the city’s first step in acquiring the property at 128-140 S. Second St., where the first barbed wire factory ever built could be turned into a parking lot.

The factory’s future status has been up for debate since the city decided to pursue turning the property into a parking lot.

The contract proposed that the city of DeKalb will buy the property owned by D-N-J Properties for $420,000 based on appraisals done externally from the city, according to city documents.

First Ward Alderwoman Carolyn Zasada hesitated on her approval.

“I don’t feel like I have the appetite for this project anymore,” Zasada said.

Despite the comments, the board went on to ultimately approve the real estate contract with a slim 4-3-1 vote.

Though a contract for the project’s sale was approved, its condemnation was not.

A second reading to condemn the former barbed wire factory was voted against with a 2-5-1 vote.


The DeKalb County Community Gardens will be breaking ground for its new community health education and food center (CHEF) center, although a time frame was not specified.

The organization was approved to begin rezoning the space along the east side of North Annie Glidden Road, between Twombly Road and Ridge Drive.

The eight-acre property will expand upon the DCCG’s current space and will house three greenhouses, an expanded gardening area, and a communal and shared market space for the public.

The center expects to submit a final development plan to the Planning and Zoning Commission prior to any building construction.

The committee in charge of the project noted it hoped for facilities to be operational by Dec. 31, 2025, according to the city council agenda.


The city of DeKalb was recognized by the 40&8 veterans organization as the “Most veteran friendly city in the U.S.,” and the council was presented a plaque by Michael Embrey of the 40&8 Veteran City Award Committee.

Embrey praised the city for its dedication to memorializing veterans including the banners of past veterans on flag poles throughout downtown DeKalb and the care of the four major memorials in the city.

In addition, Embrey announced the city will see two more memorials added in the future, with one being designated as an all-female veterans’ memorial. 

More to Discover