An agreement has been approved by the DeKalb City Council to aid the sale of three Hunter-owned apartment complexes and improve the quality of life for the tenants.
The Council voted unanimously Dec. 2 to provide a $1 million incentive to Clear Investment Group, which is under contract to purchase the Hunter Ridgebrook, Hunter Tri-Frat and Lincoln Tower apartment buildings. While the incentive agreement is tied to the acquisition and renovation of Hunter Ridgebrook, the investment firm is planning renovations and security upgrades at all three properties.
Mayor Cohen Barnes said the benefit of new management and improvements for the buildings – which see a disproportionately high number of police, fire and code responses – will benefit the whole community, including the officers responding to calls, NIU students living in the Greek Row area and the families living in the buildings.
“All those kids that attend the DeKalb School District, when you think about what life is like for some of them living in these properties over the weekend, getting ready to go to school, coming home from school, and with this transaction, we can affect 406 units and a ton of families,” said Barnes. “Those kids now can live in a safe place in our community and have an experience that so many of us have.”
Clear Investment Group owner Amy Rubenstein told the Council her company is not looking to displace the current tenants. She says their tenants need to agree that they want to live in a safe place that is clean and sanitary.
“These properties are not a place for crime nor is DeKalb,” said Rubenstein. “It’s not going to be something that’s tolerated or accepted.”
The incentive will come from the City’s General Fund reserves, which are projected to be at $15.6 millions after the incentive. That reserve amount is 42 percent of the City’s estimated Fiscal Year 2021 expenses, which is above City policy calling for reserves of 25 percent of annual expenses.
City Manager Bill Nicklas says the incentive amount represents $1 million in recouped opportunity costs from fewer police, fire and code calls to the three complexes.
“We’ve got $1 million worth of pain that we’re counting on not having,” said Nicklas. “A big piece of that is the security measures that have been agreed to in principle in this agreement.”
The measures for Hunter Ridgebrook include installation of security cameras that can be accessed by police, annual inspections of common areas by the City to check code compliance, and the ability for the Police Department to issue no-trespass warnings to those on the property unlawfully.
Photo: Mayor Cohen Barnes discusses the agreement with Clear Investment Group during the Dec. 2 special meeting of the DeKalb City Council.