Upscale Apartments, Retailers Proposed For Former Otto's Building In Downtown DeKalb

Feb 16, 2017

A once-popular DeKalb destination is one step closer to demolition.

Otto's Nightclub closed in 2014 after a burst pipe rendered it uninhabitable. Since then, the building's condition has deteriorated.

Members of DeKalb’s Planning and Zoning Commission agreed this week to rezone properties on South First Street and East Lincoln Highway to pave the way for a four-story apartment building with space for retailers.

Learn more about the Cornerstone Development

Jim Hovis is a property owner in downtown DeKalb near the proposed site. He says he has fought against downtown demolitions in the past, but changed his tune for this particular project.

“I would think that this would increase the property of every building downtown. And I think especially having 51 units rented out from professionals, people from other nations – there’s going to be a lot more downtown shopping and the restaurants.”

Others worry the mixed-use building will create a parking shortage.

Former DeKalb Mayor Bessie Chronopoulos feels the process is being rushed, and says there are several logistics to consider.

“Maybe a little bit more thinking needs to happen in that area. And somebody else brought up, “How is the garbage situation?” Some of those kinds of things – how are those things going to be taken care of?”

Developer John Pappas says the apartments would have modern amenities, including a cleaning service which would attract young professionals looking for an upscale lifestyle with downtown conveniences. He says it's an untapped market. Pappas says the entire plan will be in jeopardy if it doesn’t get preliminary approval from the city by early March.

The full city council will have a chance to act on the plan later this month.