Editorial | Old structure gets new life

Editorial | Old structure gets new life

A neglected former sorority house is no longer an eyesore.

There's nothing better than taking a sow's ear and making a silk purse out of it.

That's what has happened in Urbana, where university engineering faculty member Pierre Moulin oversaw the renovation of the former Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house at 1404 S. Lincoln Ave.

The multistory, 16,000-square-foot structure had been empty for eight years and had fallen into a dilapidated state. Moulin suggested that part of that was due to squatters who found their way into the property, used it for housing and damaged it in the process.

But now the property is all better, a benefit to the neighborhood, a boost in local housing stock and an addition to the property tax rolls.

Readers who missed the Oct. 28 story and pictures about this magical renovation in the Arts & Entertainment section are well-advised to dig it up and catch all the details. The News-Gazette also included an expanded photo package on its website at news-gazette.com.

Staff writer Paul Wood described Moulin's attention to detail in renovating this property, not just as a residential property but as a beautiful structure that has been lovingly restored.

The article characterizes the property — called Chateau Normand — as "basically a castle with a huge rotunda."

Of course, it has all the modern amenities needed to accommodate the 19 units — one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The renovation combines the best of the old and new, a real feather in the cap for Moulin and the city.

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