DeKALB – A Rockford-based contractor may soon demolish the old Hillcrest Mall building on the north side of DeKalb, part of a plan by the City of DeKalb to reclaim the land for future development.
All tenants of the mixed-use commercial and residential building, formerly owned by Evanston-based Hunter Properties, are expected to relocate by the end of the month, according to city documents released ahead of the DeKalb City Council meeting. Monday, set for 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Public Library.
Rockford-based Northern Illinois Service Company bid for the demolition contract for $237,883, documents show. City officials are recommending council approve this bid over four others, including N Trak Group, American Demolition Group, McDonagh Demolition and Alpine Demolition Services, who have offered to undertake the project for more than $300,000.
The city announced that all tenants will be relocated from the property by April 30.
The city of DeKalb purchased the property last year from area landlord Hunter Properties amid years-long battles over unresolved code violations.
The purchase and demolition are intended to rehabilitate the area and prepare vacant land for future development, city staff said.
The site is near another vacant lot owned by the city, the former site of the Campus Cinemas building at 1015 Blackhawk Road. The city has long owned the vacant movie theater lot after securing a $400,000 lien on the property last year. It was demolished in October 2020.
Since purchasing the mall properties at 1011 at 1021 Hillcrest Drive for $1.18 million in August, the city has since helped the building’s tenants move out before demolition.
The Hillcrest Shopping Center and Old Cinema create an L-shape east on Hillcrest Drive and north towards Blackhawk Road, which city staff believe will encourage positive development in the area once put in place. on the market.
According to city documents, Andy Raih, assistant director of public works for streets, facilities and the airport, conducted an environmental review of the property, which will inform any future contaminant removal in the area.
The city closed the sale of the Hunter Hillcrest Mall in October with Hunter Properties, which has a colorful and controversial history in DeKalb. The tenants were given notice and a six-month grace period to move out, with city paperwork confirmed at the time.
The city also used $1.5 million in federal funds from the American Recovery Act to help residents and businesses with their resettlement efforts.
According to city documents, city staff worked with the building’s commercial and residential tenants to provide moving assistance, including reimbursement of first and last month’s rent and a security deposit in a new rental location, as well as the reimbursement of moving expenses.
Reimbursements to date have totaled $120,725, with a final relocation reimbursement scheduled, documents show.
The mixed-use rental business building at 1011 at 1027 Hillcrest Drive is one of four rental properties owned by Hunter Properties that the landlord is to sell as part of a recently approved settlement agreement between the landlord and the city. . Hunter Properties is required to sell the buildings by April 2023 after years of concerns raised by city staff, officials and tenants about the poor quality of life in the spaces and hundreds of city code violations .
Pursuant to the settlement agreement with local owner Hunter Properties, DeKalb City Council approved a year ago in April 2021, the buildings Hunter Properties is required to sell include Hunter Ridgebrook, Hunter Tri-Frat, Lincoln Tower and Hunter Hillcrest.
In December, the DeKalb City Council approved a $1 million incentive for a Chicago developer to purchase more than 400 Hunter Properties rental units in the city, including Lincoln Tower, Hunter Tri-Frat and Hunter Ridgebrook.