Change in zoning sought for former Bank of America site
by BRIAN NADIG
An application has been filed for a zoning change that would allow a Binny’s Beverage Depot to open as the retail anchor of the former Bank of America building, 4901-11 W. Irving Park Road.
The development team for the project is seeking to have the property rezoned from B1-2 Neighborhood Shopping District, which does not permit a liquor store, to C1-1 Neighborhood Commercial District. The new zoning would set stricter density requirements for the site but would allow for more intensive business uses, including a liquor store or a car repair shop.
To avoid uses other than retail shopping, the developer for the project may be asked to sign an agreement that would restrict the type of businesses on the site or that would require the property to be downzoned after Binny’s is issued its licenses. The property also is regulated by a "pedestrian street" designation which encourages pedestrian-friendly uses in the Six Corners shopping district.
"We’re going to look at those options," Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said. Brugh said that under the C1-1 zoning the site could be used for construction materials storage. "That is not appropriate for the middle of a revitalizing business district," he said.
The development proposal also calls for a fitness center, the preservation of a theater on the second floor of the building and possibly a restaurant in the former bank. The plan also calls for a Culver’s restaurant to be built at 4939 W. Irving Park Road.
Brugh said that the uses for the former bank would be good for the commercial district and that any restrictions on permitted uses would be precautionary. "We don’t expect anything, but you have to plan," he said.
Arena also has introduced an ordinance that would lift a moratorium on the issuance of new packaged liquor licenses in the area to allow Binny’s to apply for a license, and the site of a parking lot behind the former bank recently was rezoned from residential use to B1-1 to allow the project.
The City Council Zoning Committee is scheduled to consider the proposed ordinance at its meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.
Also on the agenda for the committee’s meeting is a request to have the site of an 86-year-old mixed-use building at 5833 W. Irving Park Road rezoned. The storefront in the two-story building once was occupied by the Irving Deli.
The proposed B2-2 Neighborhood Mixed-Use District would allow residential or commercial uses on the ground floor and three dwelling units on the 3,075-square-foot parcel. The existing B1-1 zoning requires commercial space on the first floor and allows one living unit on the second floor.
Also, a zoning application has not been filed for a proposed 12-story building at 4849 N. Lipps Ave., next to the Jefferson Park CTA terminal. The 153-foot tall structure would be built across Lipps Avenue from the 145-foot-tall Veterans Square building, 4849 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Brugh said that details of the development, which would feature retail space on the ground floor, 96 apartments and a 265-space parking garage, are being worked out. The garage is intended in part to serve tenants in the Veterans Square building, where about 40 percent of the office space is unoccupied.
Project officials said at a recent community meeting that they hope that a cafe would open in the building but that attracting other retail uses to the site could be difficult because the storefronts would not be visible from a main thoroughfare.