Townhouses planned on site of former Mike’s Flower Shop
by BRIAN NADIG
Four townhouses are planned for the former Mike’s Flower Shop at the northwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Imlay Street.
A permit to demolish the former flower shop building was issued on Aug. 23, and the demolition took last week. The shop, which closed several years ago, was operated by members of the same family for decades.
The project is allowed under the site’s B3-1 zoning, which permits one residential unit for every 2,500 square feet of land. The Zoning Board of Appeals issued a special use permit which allows for ground-floor uses in a business district in June.
Alderman Anthony Napolitano’s chief of staff Chris Vittorio said that the townhouses would face Imlay, with addresses of 6500-06 W. Imlay St. The address for the flower shop was 6500 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Vittorio said that the alderman did not take a stance on the special use request to the zoning board, which acts independently of the City Council. He said that the lack of storefronts on the property should reduce any impact that the project will have on parking since commercial uses tend to generate more traffic than residential uses.
Each of the planned two-story townhouses will have three bedrooms and 2 1 / 2 bathrooms, with space for an additional bedroom, a recreational room and bathroom in the basement, according to project developer Martin Murphy of Loyola Properties. The asking price is expected to be in the $500,000s.
"It will feel like a singe-family home without the (garage)," Murphy said. A 35-foot-deep rear yard is planned.
Plans call for about eight outdoor parking spaces which will be accessed from an alley that runs along the west side of the approximately 10,500-square-foot parcel, Murphy said. Not having garages will allow for a couple of extra on-site parking spaces, he said.
Before deciding on townhouses, Murphy said that the he drove around the neighborhood and did some "informal polling" of residents. He said that residents told him that they would welcome any type of low-density project which would have a minimal impact on traffic and parking.
Several multi-family residential buildings are located immediately to the north of the site.
In 2015, community opposition halted plans for a five-story retail-residential building on the former site of Lin’s Garden Chinese restaurant at 6556 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Concerns were raised about the project’s height and density, and some residents said that the planned commercial space could have a high vacancy rate due that the availability of nearby office and retail units. Residents also have expressed concerns about cut-through traffic on Imlay at recent community meetings.