College Park complex plans underway; has city support

By Brian Peters

NIU students looking for a place to live in coming years will have 180 more choices when the planned College Park complex is finished.

Plans are underway for the new apartment complex to be built on the corner of Annie Glidden Road and an extended Hillcrest Drive. DeKalb City Planning Director Mark Biernacki said Hillcrest will be extended 200 feet in connection with the development.

The 180-apartment complex would include 156 four-bedroom apartments and 24 two-bedroom apartments. Rent charges have not been determined yet, but will hinge on building and labor costs, said Charles Silverstien, a development associate with Polarbek.

Polarbek, the Birmingham, Ala. firm wanting to develop the land, said they will formally submit plans to the DeKalb City Council sometime this month. If approved, College Park would total 40 acres, 22 of which would be developed.

The City of DeKalb is behind Polarbek, Silverstein said, adding the city has been working with the firm to develop plans for the land.

George Stratton, owner of College Square Apartments, 808 Ridge Dr., said the addition of 180 apartments would strain the market and increase the number of vacancies.

“There is already a moderate surplus, and the market doesn’t need any more apartments,” he said. Stratton said DeKalb’s current housing market is healthy and might crack under the pressures of more apartments.

However, Polarbek Development Associate Charles Silverstein disagreed. “There is a market in DeKalb. The current landlords have not been giving full value for students’ dollars.”

DeKalb’s College Park, which would be the tenth such facility in the nation—six are in operation and three more are under construction—would feature swimming pools, saunas, weight rooms and amenities beyond what’s normally offered, said Polarbek’s Ken Sibley.