Champaign council to vote on redevelopment of vacant frat house

Champaign council to vote on redevelopment of vacant frat house

CHAMPAIGN — A vacant University of Illinois fraternity house is slated for demolition and replacement with an apartment complex and new Greek house.

The city council will vote tonight on a proposal to split the lot of the old Alpha Delta Phi house at 310 E. John St. into two, according to a council document. If that passes, the Illinois Alumni Association of Alpha Delta Phi will sell one of the two new lots to Opus Development for new student apartments, according to association representative Tom Trail.

Ben Angelo, senior director of real estate development for Opus, said more specific details about the apartments will come in the next couple weeks.

Alpha Delta Phi's UI chapter closed in March 2015. Ashley Dye, the UI's fraternity and sorority affairs director, said the house was vacated that May.

Trail said the chapter closed because the house was in poor condition.

City associate planner Eric VanBuskirk said it was built in 1924 and has asbestos.

"It got to a point where it was not financially feasible to keep the house in operation," Trail said in an email.

If Tuesday's vote goes through, the city would agree to demolish the house if Opus doesn't within six months. Tina-Marie Ansong, an associate planner with the city, said Opus petitioned to start demolition on Dec. 1.

Demolition would include professional asbestos removal, Ansong said, for a combined $150,000 price tag.

"When you disturb (asbestos) it becomes airborne, so it requires special handling," Ansong said.

Trail said the fraternity intends to reopen its UI chapter with a new house on the other lot. He said all of the plans are still preliminary and the group doesn't expect to start building a new house until 2019 at the earliest.

"Our board has formed committees which are actively working both on plans for recruiting new members and plans for a first-class building that will address the needs of students today and in the future," Trail said in an email.