Lawrence-Austin project delayed; homes planned for 4600 W. Addison


A delay in a mixed-use project at Austin and Lawrence avenues, a proposal for eight homes near Addison Street and Knox Avenue and a planned church parking lot at Irving Park Road and Springfield Avenue are among the area’s recent zoning issues.

In January the City Council rezoned a parcel at 4752 N. Austin Ave. to accommodate the construction of a four-story building with 6,270 square feet of retail space and 24 apartments. The project also included a plan to build three six-flats on a neighboring parcel that is zoned for residential use at 6015-21 W. Lawrence Ave.

With the zoning in place, the bank which owns the parcel had planned to sell the land to a developer who would then build the project but that never materialized, and the properties remain for sale, said Alderman Timothy Cullerton (38th). The project is similar to one proposed in 2007, but that developer turned the land over to the bank which was financing the project due to the downturn in real estate market.

A potential buyer for the 49,000-square-foot parcel recently expressed interest in all-residential development, which would be allowed under the site’s RT-4 and B2-3 zoning. However, Cullerton said that any development there should include a retail component given that the property is at the gateway of the Lawrence-Austin business district.

Cullerton, who will be retiring in mid-May, said that the site may need to be downzoned to ensure that the community has input in a new proposal but that future decisions about the parcel will be up to his successor, 38th Ward alderman-elect Nick Sposato. Currently, Sposato is the 36th Ward alderman, but after the remapping of ward boundaries, he successfully ran for alderman in the 38th Ward in the Feb. 24 municipal election.

In the 30the Ward, a developer is seeking to replace a 2 ½-story office and storage building at 4600-08 W. Addison St. with eight single-family homes. Several houses are located immediately to the west of the 26,559-square-foot-parcel.

The proposal calls for the property to be rezoned from C1-1, which is intended for commercial uses, to RS-3, which is intended for single-family homes and two-flats. The City Council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards is scheduled to hold a hearing on the project at its meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 23, in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.

In the 45th Ward, the Church in Chicago, 3915 W. Irving Park Road, is seeking a special use to establish 30-space, off-site parking lot at 3901 W. Irving Park Road, where a beauty industry school was demolished. The site is across from Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield Ave.

The Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to consider the request at its meeting on Friday, April 17, but the hearing is expected to be deferred, said Alderman John Arena’s director of economic development Anthony Alfano.

Revisions to the lot’s configuration are being worked on, Alfano said. Concerns have been raised that Springfield is too narrow to accommodate the two driveways which were proposed under a site plan for the project, he said.

Also in the ward, an application has been filed to rezone from RS-3 to B1-1, which permits business uses, the site of an approximately 220-space parking lot at 4900-58 W. Dakin St. The parking lot is located behind the former Bank of America at 4901 W. Irving Park Road, and lot would be used for customer parking for a proposed Aldi’s grocery store and fitness center inside the bank building.

The bank also had a smaller parking lot at the southwest corner of Dakin and Lamon Avenue, but a developer has expressed interest in a building a residential project there. Plans for that project have not been finalized, Alfano said.

Homes on the parking lot sites were demolished 55 years ago after a court ruling. The city refused to rezone the properties for parking, and the bank, which had purchased the houses, took the matter to court, according to the Northwest Chicago Historical Society.

Meanwhile, a zoning application also has been filed to allow a business to open an office inside a mixed-use building at 5523-31 W. Irving Park Road, Cullerton said. The property’s RT-4 zoning is intended for multi-family residential use, but the proposed B1-1 zoning would allow for a variety of retail and office uses, and the property may be rezoned back to RT-4 once the business obtains its license, he said.