Retail building, apartments set at Red Star site


A two-story retail building and seven three-flats have been proposed for the former Red Star Inn restaurant site on Irving Park Road between Keeler Avenue and Avondale Avenue.

Centrum Partners was scheduled to give a presentation on its proposal for the 34,675-square-foot parcel at the Sept. 8 meeting of the Old Irving Park Association. In 2007 a retail center and a five-story office structure were proposed for the restaurant site and several adjacent parcels, covering a total of 1.5 acres of land, but the plan was dropped.

The former restaurant building, which in recent years was occupied by the Emergency 24 alarm monitoring firm, is vacant. The restaurant’s sign, which was eventually changed to reflect the name of the alarm company, was visible to motorists on the Kennedy Expressway.

Association treasurer and zoning committee member Howard Silver said that the proposed facade and height of the buildings fit in with the character of the neighborhood. "We are very pleased with the project," Silver said.

Initial plans called for using siding for the exterior of the apartment buildings, but at the request of Alderman John Arena (45th), the developer decided to use brick, Silver said.

Silver said that plans call for the retail building to be located on the north end of the site. He said the first floor would have three storefronts ranging in size from about 1,600 square feet to 3,700 square feet and that the second floor would have approximately 5,000 square foot space.

The apartments would be located on the southern half of the parcel. Each three-flat would consist of three one-bedroom apartments, each about 750 square feet, and Centrum was considering whether to include a basement for the ground-floor units, Silver said.

Thirty on-site parking spaces are planned, with 12 spaces for the commercial tenants and 18 spaces for the residential occupants, Silver said. The zoning code normally requires at least one parking space for each residential unit, but the proximity of the site to the Irving Park Metra station, 3931 N. Avondale Ave., qualifies the development for a reduction in the number of parking spaces, he said.

Access to the parking would be from driveways on Keeler and on Avondale and from an alley that is accessible from Avondale, Silver said. Storage of a vehicle that would be available to members of a car-sharing program is being considered, he said.