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Normal Planning Commission to hold public hearing on Shelbourne development plans

Illinois State University plans to declare the decommissioned 101 unit Shelbourne Apartments surplus to university needs, setting the stage to sell the 26 acre property surrounded by residential homes.
Developers closed on the property along Shelbourne Drive and Linden Streets in August and intend to develop duplexes and assisted living for seniors.

The Normal Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday on whether land in north Normal should be rezoned to allow for construction of a new residential housing development.

If approved, the move would allow developer 300 Spot LLC to proceed with plans to revamp empty housing units and property formerly owned by Illinois State University and operated until 2017 as married student, graduate student and international student housing.

Developers DJ Powell and Mike Mapes closed on the property in August and previously told WGLT they envisioned creating duplexes and assisted living units for seniors on the undeveloped land along Shelbourne Drive and Linden Street in Normal. Powell, of Peoria, and Mapes, of Bloomington-Normal, purchased the property for around $1 million after ISU solicited requests-for-proposals for redevelopment.

Normal planning commissioners will hear a proposal Thursday evening to rezone the 23-acre property from university zoned to a combination of public use land, as well as single, medium, and mixed residential areas.

Powell and Mapes did not respond to an updated request for comment by WGLT on Friday, but in a previous interview said they planned to redevelop the pre-existing 101-unit apartment building on the property, build about 20 duplexes on the north and east sides, and 24 units of retiree housing on the west side.

According to documents submitted to the town ahead of Thursday’s meeting, the project reduces the number of duplexes from the initial concept and adds single family housing. The proposal includes 15 single-family units on the north side of the property and 14 duplexes on the east side of the property in an area that would be zoned R-2 mixed residential.

Mapes said the existing 101 apartment units will take up to two years to renovate and bring back into service. The new construction could take three to five years after that.

ISU leaders have said the apartments are not in great shape, one of the reasons the university determined the complex no longer fit in the institution’s strategic plan. Mapes and Powell said, however, the renovation project is not insurmountable.

“There was a test done some time back and there's a .09% amount of asbestos in the materials that are in the flooring, and we will have to mitigate that accordingly. For the most part, those units are in fairly good shape for their age,” Mapes told WGLT earlier.

The two said they don't have a dollar estimate for the project because construction costs will likely change significantly over the next 5-8 years.

In meeting documents prepared ahead of time, Town of Normal staff recommends the planning commission approve the developers' request to rezone the property, noting the area could handle additional traffic, is centrally located and fulfills a need for diverse housing options within the town.

Town staff also noted that while there is not a specific proposal for using the land developers requested be rezoned to public use, the area meets the criteria to be rezoned as such and, if something were to be developed in that zoning area — such as a church, community center or nursing home — a site plan process would be required before any work was started or approved.

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Updated: November 6, 2022 at 1:04 PM CST
The project includes 15 single-family residential units on the north end of the development and 14 duplexes on the east part of the property.
Lyndsay Jones is a reporter at WGLT. She joined the station in 2021. You can reach her at lljone3@ilstu.edu.
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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