With the start of a new year – and a new decade- the staff at the Daily Chronicle looked at the stories expected to make headlines this year. From culture to politics to business, there are plenty of opportunities for change and growth in the area.
Egyptian Theatre to hold summer shows for the first time in 90 years
For the first time in its 90-year history, the historic Egyptian Theatre is expected to hold summer shows beginning in 2020.
It’s been touted by many, including theater staff, as essential to the continued efforts to revitalize downtown DeKalb, much like the city hall move from the DeKalb Municipal Building, 400 S. Fourth St., to the former First National Bank known as the Nehring building, also expected this year.
Summer shows have a $4.5 million renovation to thank, something the theater has been undergoing for much of 2019, with grants from local and state sources to help defray the cost. It also received $2.5 million in tax increment financing funds from the City of DeKalb.
Among the new amenities coming to the theater will be air conditioning, expanded concession offerings, more bathrooms, new carpeting and installing baby changing stations.
The project is expected to be completed in time for summer shows.
Meijer is planning to open a new location in the spring at the northwest corner of Peace Road and Route 23, near the Farm and Fleet.. It will give the area a fourth big-box grocery store to buy their food and fuel.
The current plan, which was drafted in July 2018, calls for a 160,000 square feet building, with 572 parking spaces, and a 3,400 square foot gas station that sits in front of the store and the parking lot.
John Sauter, director of building and engineering for Sycamore, said the holidays have slowed down construction, because staffing is light.
However, he expects things to pick up shortly.
“Things will ramp up next week, probably,” Sauter said.
While the actual opening date has not been announced, Sauter said there’s been talk about a possible April opening.
Project Hammer company identified, whether DeKalb wins bid or not:
DeKalb city staff announced mid-2019 that two large projects began eyeing property south of Interstate 88 in the ChicagoWest Business Center.
One of the businesses, later dubbed “Project Hammer,” is an international confectioner that is seeking to combine several operations in the Midwest. City officials said it could bring in 1,000 jobs and substantial tax revenue to the area.
DeKalb is competing with a similar-sized city in Wisconsin for the business.
The end of the year was marked by DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas attending meetings of local taxing bodies to have them agree to a 15-year tax abatement plan to incentivize the confectioner to come to DeKalb.
All of the relevant taxing bodies signed on to the plan, which will abate 50% of property taxes from 10 bodies total, and sometime in 2020 it will be announced whether or not DeKalb will be home to the confectioner.
Rebuilding at St. Albans Green
About five months after 120 people lost their homes in the fire that destroyed one of the St. Albans Green Apartments buildings, the city council approved plans for a replacement and in 2020, those plans will come to fruition.
James Mason, the owner of the 2.48-acre lot, will build 27 three-bedroom townhome units and a single one-bedroom Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible unit.
The significance of that number of bedrooms, 82, is that it matches the number of bedrooms lost by in the late-July fire.
First medical dispensary in DeKalb, recreational
Since Jan. 1, the state of Illinois has raked in millions of dollars already with legal recreational marijuana sales. Many marked the new year by waiting for hours in lines in Rockford, Joliet and Aurora , only to be turned away because the shops sold out.
In DeKalb, the closest residents have to a local pot shop has yet to open: a medical dispensary approved by the city council Nov. 25.
Mitch Zaveduk, the owner of Chicago-based dispensary BQ Enterprises, has said he is applying for a recreational permit for the 3,600-square-foot space at 700 Peace Road, Suite B. The city gave Zaveduk a 12-month period in which to obtain his state license, and an additional six months to complete the build-out.
It’s unlikely recreational weed will be available in DeKalb County before July,
Source: The Daily Chronicle