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ISU's Shelbourne Apartment complex sold for $1 million

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Illinois State University has sold its decommissioned 101-unit Shelbourne Apartments on 26 acres, two thirds of which remain green grass and undeveloped.

Illinois State University has closed the sale of its former Shelbourne Apartment complex in Normal for $1,082,500.

The university announced plans in July 2021 to sell the 26 acres that include 101 apartments formerly used as graduate student family housing. In December of that year, Illinois State picked a bidder. ISU president Terri Goss Kinzy said since then, they have been negotiating with the firm 300 Spot LLC.

"We feel like we benefited from the strong housing market in Normal and because there was a slight delay we feel we actually got a better price," said Kinzy, adding the price also reflected the dilapidated state of the complex.

"It's not a facility where you can just walk in and turn it over," she said. "There's a reason the university was no longer going to invest in it. It will take an investment for someone to turn it into appropriate housing."

Kinzy said the university will use the proceeds from the sale on deferred maintenance projects on campus.

The firm buying the land consists of partners DJ Powell and Mike Mapes. Powell said he owns and manages 60 apartment units in central Illinois. He lives in Bloomington-Normal. Mapes owns a Peoria construction firm that Powell said has done several flips before. Powell said they will renovate the apartments rather than tear them down and start over.

"We're going to start a building at a time. And obviously the sooner the better. We still have to work with the town of Normal to get it zoned. Once we do that and once it is zoned, we will start with renovations and getting people in," said Powell.

The parcel is surrounded by residential housing, though there is a church to the west that has a special use permit for that purpose. From aerial photos, town staff estimated last year that about two thirds of the property remains green space.

Powell said they will not rent to students.

"I would say more mid-range to upscale to fill the housing need that appears to be plaguing the Bloomington-Normal area," said Powell.

The project will require rezoning the 26 acres at Linden Street and Shelbourne Drive from education to residential. Powell said they haven't done anything this big before and will eventually develop the green areas of the property.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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