K House of Flowers redevelopment would reflect design of city landmark building
by BRIAN NADIG
The facade of a proposed 3 ½-story apartment building at the northeast corner of Milwaukee and Foster avenues would resemble some of the features of a city landmark on the Northwest Side, according to the site’s developer.
The proposed building would replace the former K House of Flowers, 5241-49 N. Milwaukee Ave., which has been vacant since it longtime owner died about 2 years ago. Plans call for the project to include four apartments and eight outdoor parking spaces along a rear alley, with no commercial space planned.
Alderman John Arena (45th) held a March 8 community meeting on the proposal.
Developer Tim Pomaville of Ambrosia Homes said that his design for the planned frame-style building was influenced by the look of the Whistle Stop Inn at 4200 W. Irving Park Road, which was built in 1889 and was designated at city landmark in 1990.
The city’s designation describes the two-story Whistle Stop as a “modest wood structure” which was common in Chicago neighborhoods in the late 19th Century but nowadays is rare. Over the decades, the building has housed a drugstore, a tavern and an historical museum.
Pomaville said that his original plans called for more a larger building on the former flower shop site but that the irregular shape, which is similar to triangle, put some constraints on the project and ultimately led to a scaled-down project. Plans call for the 3,300-square-foot parcel to be rezoned from B3-1, which allows only one residential unit on the property, to B2-3, which allows for more density and for the lack of commercial space in a business district.
Each of the apartments would measure about 1,200 square feet and include two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an outdoor deck, with a projected monthly rent of about $1,850. One of the four units would be located in the building’s basement.
Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce David Wians said that the site serves as a gateway in the area’s commercial district and that there should be a retail presence on the ground floor. Wians said that the need for commercial space on the first floor was recommended in a Gladstone Park commercial corridor study which was based on input from elected officials, business owners, residents and the city Department of Planning and Development, whose senior planner authored the study.
Pomaville said that he considered a storefront for the project but felt that it would be too small to attract a retailer and could remain vacant for a long time.
Arena said that the corner location of the property means that there would no curb-side parking immediately in front of the storefront, making the site less attractive to businesses.
A woman at the meeting expressed concern that the location would be noisy given the heavy volume of traffic at the Foster-Milwaukee intersection, making the site unattractive to prospective residential tenants. However, project officials said that the decks and windows would be positioned to limit the impact of the traffic noise.
Arena said that he suspects that the apartments would not be on the market for long, adding that existing units in the area are often leased within “days.”
Pomaville said that the fact that the units would be newly constructed should increase their demand.