University Plaza renovations continue

By Satta Kendor

The north and south towers of University Plaza, 900 Crane Drive, will be fully converted into apartments by late summer.

Renovations are in progress for the north tower and central building, which will be completed by August 20, said John Chapman, development manager for Capstone Real Estate Investments. The south tower is completely renovated.

“We [have] done a lot of work in what would be 11 months when we complete in August,” Chapman said. “So it’s been very busy a very active construction site.”

The towers are eight stories high, consisting of 312 apartment units — down from 1,100 dorm units. The apartments, which are made up of studios and one, two and three bedroom units, are only rentable to students with valid student IDs or to NIU employees.

“I feel very positive that the developers are enhancing the University Plaza and that it remodels an existing building,” said Mayor John Rey. “It makes it a lot more attractive to rent.”

City Council voted 6-2 on Sept. 8 to permit Capstone Real Estate Investments to convert the dormitory style housing of University Plaza into apartment units. The vote allowed the city to improve the functionality of the property by installing kitchens in the individual apartments rather than having a common dining hall and extra amenities, among other changes, Rey said.

Amenities, including an indoor swimming pool, a fitness area and a business center with computers and printers, will be located in the central building, Chapman said.

“I think the investment is very positive for the city,” said Ellen Divita, community development director for the city of DeKalb. “I think that it’s a great reinvestment in a key residential property which services students on campus, and I think that the success in rentals speaks to the fact that the market is interested in having nice housing.”