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Pappas’ latest downtown building plan heads to public hearing

KELSEY RETTKE krettke@shawmedia.comMay 20, 2019

DeKALB – Developer John Pappas and his company, Pappas Development LLC, are moving forward with plans to bring a third mixed-use residential space to downtown DeKalb.

Pappas is scheduled to appear for a public hearing before the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St., to present a concept plan which would bring 38 luxury apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space to the city’s Central Business District.

Pappas has proposed a $13.8 million project to redevelop two parcels of land, commonly referred to as the Mooney building, 204 N. Fourth St., and 423/420 Oak St., and has requested $3 million in tax increment financing assistance from the city.

Analysis of the project by DeKalb Principal Planner Dan Olson has found the project, which would demolish the large building near the formely used as an auto dealership and mechanic shop, as being in line with the city’s goals for the central business district.

Before they make a recommendation to the council, though, planning commissioners want to hear what the public thinks of the plan, according to the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting.

The City Council on May 13 reached a consensus to move forward with Pappas’ plan to seek a preliminary incentive agreement to contribute $3 million to the project . The proposed funding would include $2 million from the TIF district known as TIF 2 in 2019, with an additional $1 million to come from a new TIF district in 2020 and 2021.

City Manager Bill Nicklas has said current equalized assessed value on the Mooney property shows its property taxes could generate 11 times more than the $3,500 it generated in property taxes in 2018, because of the investment Pappas is planning.

The existing buildings would be demolished, and two 56,000-square-foot buildings would go up, the proposal shows. The building, the former Mooney Chevrolet Car Dealership, has been vacant since 2012, when the dealership moved to Sycamore, agenda documents show. An attempt to sell it at auction earlier this year attracted no bids.

The money became available for use after the council backtracked on plans to award $2.5 million to developers seeking to renovate the former St. Mary’s hospital at 145 Fisk Ave. into a boutique hotel. The developers who proposed that project, Nicholas Cronauer and Chip Bulson, have filed a federal lawsuit against Nicklas.

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