Concerns expressed about impact of sale of Resurrection convent on adjacent land
by BRIAN NADIG
Most of the concerns expressed at the July 18 meeting of the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee about a plan to convert the Sisters of Resurrection convent at 7432 W. Talcott Ave. into senior assisted living centered around the undeveloped land next to the site.
The Sisters of Resurrection is planning to sell 13.4 acres of land next to Resurrection College Prep High School to developers who are seeking a zoning change from RS-2 to RM-6 or B2-5 to allow the convent to be retrofitted for 74 assisted living units. The rezoning would apply only to 2.99 acres, while the remaining land would continue to be RS-2, which is intended primarily for single-family homes.
“What’s going to happen to the (undeveloped land),” advisory committee member Frank Icuss asked the developers, Michael Fiandaca and Gregory Stec. “That’s the big uncertainty. It’s easier to present (the plan) to our community if we know what that 10 acres is going to be.”
Fiandaca said that he has “no interest in building single-family homes” and that any development on the vacant land would require a planned development ordinance due its large size, triggering a public hearing process.
Stec said that there have been brief talks with the Sisters of the Resurrection about a memory care center but that any development there would be far into the future. “We’re not even thinking of the back lot (at this time),” he said.
At the request of committee chairman Mike Emerson, the developers agreed to sign a letter to bring any future plans for the undeveloped land to the committee for review. The committee’s decisions on development proposals serve as a recommendation to Alderman Anthony Napolitano.
It also was reported that there would be an easement agreement between the Sisters of Resurrection and the development team once it purchases the convent. A tunnel which connects the high school and convent would remain, and the school and assisted living operators would share some utility infrastructure.
The Sisters of Resurrection also is requiring a covenant be attached to the deed, prohibiting a tavern or other uses that would be in conflict of Catholic teachings, Fiandaca said.
The proposal calls for no exterior changes to the 73.000-square-foot convent, a portion of which was built in the 1920s, and its chapel would remain, Fiandaca said. The proposed Type 1 zoning ordinance would prohibit any additions to the convent.
Most of the units would be one-bedroom apartments with a bathroom and a kitchenette, and the monthly rent would range between $4,000 and $6,000, which would include three meals a day. A senior housing management company would be hired to operate the building, Stec said.
The advisory board plans to vote on the proposal at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, at the Olympia Park fieldhouse, 6566 N. Avondale Ave.
The Sisters of Resurrection announced last fall that it would be selling the convent and some of the surrounding land but that it would continue to operate the high school.