Edgebrook condo plan reduced to 3 stories
by BRIAN NADIG
A plan to reduce the height of a proposed condominium building in Downtown Edgebrook from four to three stories was announced at the June 1 meeting of the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee, but several members still have have reservations about the project.
Eliminating one floor from the proposed building at 5306 W. Devon Ave. would reduce the height of the building from 46 to 40 feet, prompting concerns from some members that the project would still be too tall. “Six feet. That doesn’t really make much of a difference,” said member James Hankin.
Project developer Tim Pomaville of Ambrosia Homes said that the building would complement the Edgebrook Library, 5331 W. Devon Ave., which is the area’s tallest building along the Devon commercial corridor. The library has two floors but features an atrium and other decorative features which extend the height.
“Three stories is actually very common in Chicago for a a condominium building,” Pomaville told the committee.
The ground-floor commercial space in the building would feature a 12-foot ceiling that would be several feet higher than the typical storefront in Edgebrook, Pomaville said. Most of the buildings in the area were constructed prior to the ceiling height requirement, he said.
Called the “Bicycle Flats of Edgebrook,” the building would be located on a 25-foot-wide lot vacant lot and would include five, two-bedroom condominium units in addition to the storefront, which could be used as a work/live arrangement under the proposed B2-3 zoning, Pomaville said. The selling price for the units is expected to be in the mid-$300,000s.
Three parking spaces and storage for up to 12 bicycles are planned. The zoning code normally requires one parking space per residential unit, but a recent revision to the code reduces requirements for transit-oriented projects which are located within 1,320 feet of a Metra or other public transportation hub.
Pomaville said that the project is intended to bring more pedestrian and bicycle traffic to the business district. “Right now all we have is cars driving by on Devon,” he said.
Several members said that more parking was needed. “I understand that it is legal, but it doesn’t mean we have to like it,” member John Andersen said of the new parking criteria.
“Frankly, living on the edge of the suburbs, people want a car,” Hankin said.
One resident told the committee that the project was better suited for neighborhoods which cater to young professionals and which have more public transportation options. “How many 40-year-olds with a suit and a tie are bicycling to work?” the man said.
Board chairman Mike Emerson said that he was “a big fan of this project” because it would help bring some vitality to the business district. “I want to try to support this project,” he said.
In addition, Alderman Anthony Napolitano said that he likes the concept of the project but that “it has to be what the community wants.” Napolitano has said that he will abide by the recommendations which his advisory board makes on zoning proposals in the ward.
Member Christine Rosenberg said that one of the community’s concerns is the effect that the project could have on other developments given the precedent-setting nature of the proposed B2-3 zoning and the density and height which it allows. “Are they going to be something that is not as nice of a project?” she said.
The existing B3-1 zoning of the site, which is located between a vacant office building and a restaurant, requires a storefront on the first floor with no more than one residential unit above.
The advisory board, which includes representatives from community groups, is expected to vote on the project this summer.
The start of the committee’s meeting was delayed because of a crowd of about 400 people who came out to hear a proposal for 44 apartments and a 156-space parking garage at 6655 N. Oliphant Ave. in Edison Park. The item was removed from the agenda because the developer, Troy Realty, was planning to switch from rental units to condominiums, Napolitano said.
Napolitano charged that 41st Ward Democratic committeeman Tim Heneghan had sent out e-mails to residents unfairly characterizing the project as low-income rental units. Napolitano said that Heneghan is planning to run for alderman in 2019.
“Our schools are already bursting at the seams, parking in the area is scarce, and traffic will continue to increase on Northwest Highway and neighboring streets,” Heneghan wrote in a May 27 e-mail.
Napolitano said that his office received inquiries from residents asking how Heneghan got their e-mail address. Napolitano said that former alderman Mary O’Connor had turned over her ward e-mail list to Heneghan.