Revision in plan for Edgebrook condos


A plan to reduce the height of a proposed condominium building in Downtown Edgebrook from four stories to three stories was announced at the June 1 meeting of the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee, but several members of the committee have reservations about the project.

Eliminating one floor from the building proposed for a vacant lot at 5306 W. Devon Ave. would reduce the height of the building from 46 feet to 40 feet, but some committee members said that the building still would be too tall.

The developer for the project, Tim Pomaville of Ambrosia Homes, said that the building would complement the Edgebrook Library, 5331 W. Devon Ave., which is the tallest building along the Devon commercial corridor. The library has two floors, but it has an atrium and other decorative features which extend the height.

"Three stories is actually very common in Chicago for a condominium building," Pomaville said at the meeting.

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 buildings in the area were constructed before the ceiling height requirement was in effect, he said.

The building, which would be called the Bicycle Flats of Edgebrook, would be constructed on a 25-foot-wide lot. It would have five two-bedroom condominium units in addition to the storefront, which could be used as a working/living 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 public transportation hub.

Pomaville said that the project is intended to bring more pedestrian and bicycle traffic to the commercial district. "Right now all we have is cars driving by on Devon," he said.

Several committee members said that more parking is needed. "I understand that it is legal, but it doesn’t mean we have to like it," John Andersen said.

"Frankly, living on the edge of the suburbs, people want a car," North Edgebrook Civic Association vice president James Hankin said.

One resident said that the development would be better suited for neighborhoods that cater to young professionals and that 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 supports the project because it would bring vitality to the commercial district.

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 the advisory committee makes.

Committee member Christine Rosenberg said that one of the concerns of residents is the effect that the project could have on other developments because the proposed B2-3 zoning and the density and height which it allows would set a precedent.

The existing B3-1 zoning of the site, which is 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 has representatives of community groups in the ward, is expected to vote on the proposal this summer.

The start of the meeting was delayed because of a crowd of about 400 people who attended to hear a proposal for 44 apartments and a 156-space parking garage at 6655 N. Oliphant Ave. The item was removed from the agenda because the developer, Troy Realty, plans to change the development from rental units to condominiums, Napolitano said.

Napolitano said that 41st Ward Democratic Committeeman Tim Heneghan sent 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. He said that former alderman Mary O’Connor turned over her ward e-mail list to Heneghan.