Proposed 4-story Edgebrook building to encourage bike use




by BRIAN NADIG

A proposed four-story building in Downtown Edgebrook and a revised plan for the former Lin’s Garden restaurant site, 6556 N. Milwaukee Ave., will be presented at the next meeting of the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, at the Olympia Park fieldhouse, 6566 N. Avondale Ave. The committee makes recommendations on zoning issues to Alderman Anthony Napolitano.

Under the proposed “Bicycle Flats of Edgebrook,” a four-story building with seven two-bedroom condominiums and one ground-floor work/live space would be built on a 3,000-square-foot vacant lot at 5306 W. Devon Ave.

The project would include three parking spaces, interior storage for 16 bicycles and outdoor bike racks in front of the building. The project’s developer is exploring the possibility of a Divvy Bikes ride-sharing station in front of the building.

The project would qualify for a reduction in parking requirements because the site is located less than 1,350 feet from the Edgebrook Metra Station, 5438 W. Devon Ave., according to project officials.

Normally one parking space is required for each residential unit for new construction. However, in an effort to encourage development near public transportation stations, the zoning code waives or reduces parking requirements for transit-oriented developments.

“The surrounding businesses can all benefit from more walking traffic on Devon. Additional walking traffic from this building and others will bring new interest in vacant spaces on Devon.

”The building will promote train ridership, walking and bicycles as a logical alternative to driving to work. This appeals to a buyer type that is not currently served in the Edgebrook housing market,” project officials wrote in a statement to Napolitano.

Plans call for the property to be rezoned from B3-1 to the less restrictive B2-3, which permits living space on the ground floor of a building located in a business district.

Project officials argue that the building would appeal to first-time home buyers and longtime home owners who are looking to downsize. “There are very minimal condo options available in the immediate area for buyers who desire to live in Edgebrook but don’t want the upkeep associated with a single-family home,” they wrote.

Also at the May 4 meeting, the committee will discuss revised plans to build a five-story building on a parcel which includes a monument company and the former Lin’s restaurant near Milwaukee and Albion avenues.

In December the committee voted to reject an earlier plan for the 17,000-square-foot site due to residents’ concerns about parking, density and the building’s height.

Some nearby home owners also objected to plans to have the units leased because they believe renters tend to be more transient and less invested in the community, but the units now would be marketed as condominiums, Napolitano’s chief of staff Chris Vittorio said.

The revised plan calls for 24 living units and 30 interior parking spaces, which are unchanged from last year’s proposal, but the building would consist of fewer two-bedroom units. Twenty one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units are planned.

Residents said at previous committee meetings that the number of units should be limited to 12 and that that at 55 feet the building would be too tall. The design of the building is unchanged under the revised proposal, Vittorio said.

"The height scared everybody in the neighborhood," committee member Tony Chiavola said at the committee’s Dec. 2 meeting.

At the same meeting, committee member Mike Emerson expressed concern that the restaurant site could remain undeveloped for a long time, and he encouraged the project’s developer to consider revisions. "What we don’t want to is close the door on this development," he said.

Project officials have said that a dense development for the site is appropriate because it is on a main street, with nearby bus stops.

Two five-story residential buildings on Milwaukee are located about 1/2 block south of the site. The main entrance of each building is on Nashville Avenue.

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