Commission mulls Purple Hotel site plan
by KEVIN GROSS
The Village of Lincolnwood Plan Commission discussed newly released plans for the former Purple Hotel site, 4500-4560 W. Touhy Ave., now referred to as the District 1860 development, on Sept. 5.
The plans call for an eight-story, 91-foot tall hotel, a one-story, 28-foot tall retail building on the west side of the site, and a seven-story, 88-foot tall mixed-use building with 300 luxury apartments, a 46,000-square foot private residential courtyard and lower-level retail and restaurant space by the Lincoln-Touhy intersection and a landscaped communal parking lot.
Staff discussed developer Tucker Development’s requests for zoning variations, including approval of the work as a Planned Unit Development allowing for a more flexible and creative design, and permission to construct buildings in excess of five stories, as per village standard.
Additional requests include building setback relief and changes to landscaping aspects, parking requirements, loading areas, and roofing and architectural materials.
Developers said that they expect the final project to be approved by the village by the end of 2018 and the project should be completed in 2 1/2 years.
A few residents questioned the development at the Sept. 5 meeting.
"Why build 300 apartments in our small village with fewer than 13,000 residents?" resident Leslie Wurman said. "The Tucker Development proposal appears primarily to be an apartment development, which likely will change the village’s character."
Resident Neil Siegel criticized Tucker’s request for a "blanket reduction" of approximately 20 percent in off-street parking, which he said "Throws all thought and analysis to the winds and gives Tucker a blank check to do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want, to suit their finances."
The development and its variations requests will be discussed further at future meetings, including at the Plan Commission meeting on Oct. 4.
The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees at its meeting Sept 4. discussed plans to create a new North Lincoln Tax Increment Financing district, replacing the old Lincoln-Touhy TIF district that exists around the Purple Hotel site and three properties south of Touhy.
The new North Lincoln TIF would use different borders and reset the base equalized assessed value, allowing the district to be used as an economic incentive for Tucker Development rather than diverting future property tax revenue to restore the original TIF back from a negative value. The old Lincoln-Touhy TIF had dropped $4 million from its base equalized assessed value since it was created in 2011, due to the longstanding vacancy of the Purple Hotel site and a drop in surrounding property values.
"In essence, no money in 6 years had gone to the TIF," community development manager Steve McNellis said.
Trustees voted to schedule an official public hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 20, for the new TIF district.
Trustees and staff also discussed businesses including the District 1860 development as part of the larger North Gateway Sub-Area Plan, which calls for targeted planning and development in an area bounded by Cicero, Touhy and Lincoln avenues and the village’s northern boundaries.
"The goal here is to capitalize on what we believe will be the anticipated success of the Purple Hotel site," McNellis said.
McNellis said that the village had been working with planning consultants under the Lakota Group to devise future land uses, urban design policies and projected traffic and pedestrian circulation.
McNellis said other new Lincolnwood businesses could include a "prototype, first of its kind in Illinois" 41,700-square foot Walmart grocery store at the former Dominick’s grocery store location, 6810 N. McCormick Blvd. The store would be used primarily as a pickup location for Internet-ordered groceries where customers would wait in parking bays for pre-ordered goods to be delivered to their vehicles, as opposed to shopping inside the store.
McNellis also said that a future Starbucks with a drive through located at 4320 W. Touhy Ave. recently completed its permitting process and should be expected for completion in early 2019.
Bass additionally said that Room Place Furniture had recently signed a lease to open another "prototype store" in the top floor of the recently shuttered Carson Pirie Scott department store, located at the Lincolnwood Town Center, 3333 W. Touhy Ave.