College Square Apartments to evict tenants complex is renovated


Jen Knobloch | Northern Star College Square residents were given eviction notices last week so the building could be renovated.

By Dave Gong

College Square Apartments, 808 Ridge Drive, 832 Ridge Drive and 835 Edgebrook Drive, will be converted to student-only housing, said new owner Michael Gatto.

Gatto said his company, Granite DeKalb LLC, purchased the property out of bankruptcy and is pursuing plans to renovate the buildings.

DeKalb City Clerk Steve Kapitan said he was not aware of a foreclosure at College Square Apartments or evictions to tenants living there.

“It’s not normally a procedure to notify the city clerk about evictions,” Kapitan said.

Gatto said evictions were served to some tenants in the apartment complex, including people owing back rent or living at the complex without leases.

“There are currently only about 12 people with valid leases,” Gatto said. “We’re doing our best to relocate students to the 808 Ridge Drive building if they wish to stay.”

Lynn Richards, attorney and assistant director of Students’ Legal Assistance, said landlord/tenant disputes constitute about one-third of the types of cases Students’ Legal Assistance deals with. First priority is given to students with emergency situations such as eviction notices, Richards said.

“A landlord can’t just evict a tenant just to do renovations; there has to be a reason,” Richards said. “We are ready and willing to help students who are dealing with landlord/tenant issues.”

Richards said all fee-paying students are eligible for representation.

After renovations, the 450-bed residence hall-apartment complex hybrid will start at $645 per month, Gatto said. Rooms will be rented individually so tenants are not responsible for other roommates’ rent, and rooms will come fully furnished. Utilities will also be included with the $645 monthly rent, Gatto said.

“Any expenses outside the rent will be picked up by the company,” Gatto said. “It combines the inclusiveness of a dorm with the freedom of an apartment.”

Gatto said the hybrid apartment concept, known as Fornelli Hall, has been tested in downtown Chicago, where the complex caters to students at Robert Morris and Roosevelt Universities. Fornelli Hall in DeKalb will be ready for fall semester 2012, Gatto said.

“We’re waiting on the city,” Gatto said. “Once they issue the permits, we’re planning on mobilizing the construction around Jan. 1.”