City voids permit for Montrose apartments





by BRIAN NADIG

The city Department of Buildings has voided a construction permit application for a planned 16-unit apartment building at 4812 W. Montrose Ave., while an application for the first phase of a redevelopment project at 5150 N. Northwest Hwy. has been filed.

Department spokeswoman Mimi Simon said that the application to build a 3 1/2 story building on the Montrose site, which had been used as a parking lot for decades, was recently voided due to inactivity. Permit applications typically go through about a dozen reviews from city agencies, including an examination of whether the construction would adhere to the site’s zoning, and the last activity on that process occurred more than 120 days ago, she said.

It is not unusual for applicants to halt the processing and then return at a later date to have it reinstated by paying a fee, Simon said.

Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that the alderman’s office has been reaching out to the developer to get an update on the project’s status but had not heard back. Currently building materials are being stored on the lot.

The alderman is eager to have the project built, Brugh said. "The vacant lot is an eyesore (and) has generated complaints from the neighborhood," he said.

The project was revised last year at the request of Arena to allow green space in the rear of the property. Plans had called for two eight-car garages, but the number of parking spaces was later reduced to 11 spaces, which will now be outside along the alley. The site qualified for a reduction in the usual one parking space per unit requirement due to the site’s proximity to the Mayfair Metra Station, 4357 N. Cicero Ave.

Meanwhile, a permit application was recently filed for the construction of a five-story, self-storage warehouse on the northern half of a parcel at Northwest Highway and Milwaukee Avenue. Initial plans had called for the entire site to be a storage facility, but Arena had the property downzoned, and LSC Development, the site’s owner, later agreed to use only half of the parcel and to sell the other portion to a residential developer.

Full Circle Communities has proposed building a seven-story, mixed-income housing project on the southern end of the site. The project has been delayed due to financing issues, but a Full Circle spokesman said that the company is "still pursing a potential development on the (site)."

A lawsuit filed by a group of area property owners to stop the project is still pending.

Also in the area, plans are moving forward to build three Starbucks coffeehouses with drive-through facilities. Construction permits are pending for the former Brown’s Chicken site at 5601 W. Lawrence Ave. and the former Family Fruit Market parking lot at 4155 N. Cicero Ave.

The third Starbucks is planned for the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Irving Park Road. Its construction has been delayed due to a new developer taking over the project, but the plans remained unchanged, according to Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th).