DeKalb building proposed

By Northern Star Staff

DeKALB — Development has been proposed for a four-story building in DeKalb’s Central Business District that would house high-end residential and commercial units.

DeKalb developer John Pappas proposed establishments at 122 S. First Street and 112, 118, 122 and 123 E. Lincoln Highway be demolished to make way for the new building and parking area, which is called the Cornerstone Development.

“We really like the name Cornerstone because we really do believe that this is going to kick-start several other developments in the downtown, and this really is the cornerstone that’s going to set the foundation for revitalizing the downtown,” said Jason Michnick, DeKalb economic development planner at a Monday City Council meeting.

The project is estimated to cost $7.5 million, and Pappas has requested $3 million from the City of DeKalb to help fund costs.

The first floor would house commercial units, while the remaining three floors would contain 51 furnished one-bedroom apartments.

“At the end of the day, we’re really trying to promote DeKalb as a place where businesses want to locate and invest,” said Jo Ellen Charlton, DeKalb community development director.

Barb City Bagels, 122 S. First Street, is among the establishments proposed to be torn down but will be included in the commercial units housed on the first floor. Mediterraneo Grill, 122 E. Lincoln Highway, would also be demolished.

“This is a project I feel really is going to be a catalyst,” sixth ward Alderman Dave Baker said. “Bringing people to downtown DeKalb — living downtown — I think it’s going to have an effect on the businesses downtown. I think it’s going to change a lot.”

The project needs preliminary approval from city council before the due diligence period, or time before deadline, ends in early March in order for Pappas to secure consolidated ownership of all the affected buildings. The council is expected to discuss the project again during its Feb. 27 meeting.

“I think we need to think about the request from the developer,” Mayor John Rey said.