Purple Hotel site redevelopment receives preliminary approval
by KEVIN GROSS
The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees at its meeting Nov. 6 gave preliminary approval for the mixed-use District 1860 development that will feature luxury apartments, a hotel and commercial retail on the former Purple Hotel site, 4500-4560 W. Touhy Ave. and 7350 N. Lincoln Ave.
Trustees gave preliminary approval to a special use for a Planned Unit Development and 16 additional zoning modifications that developer Tucker Development requested for the project. The requests were discussed at Plan Commission meetings in September and October and the plans are expected to receive final approval at a future board meeting after the village attorney prepares the documents. In a planned unit development, modifications are like zoning variations but a hardship does not need to be proved in order for it to be granted.
One modification would allow a 98-foot, seven-story, mixed-use apartment and commercial building at the intersection of Lincoln and Touhy avenues, as well as a seven-story, 80-foot-tall Marriott Extended Stay and Courtyard Hotel with 220 rooms at the 8.47-acre site’s northern end.
Village code restricts buildings up to 65-feet tall, but Lincolnwood community development director Steve McNellis said that the site isn’t near single-family residences and sits across from the 78-foot-tall Barclay Place Condominiums. The development’s third structure, a 28-foot-tall retail building at the site’s western end, would be built within regular height requirements.
"You’re building your own mini-city, for lack of a better euphemism," Trustee Jesal Patel said.
Another zoning modification would reduce the floor area of 300 luxury apartments from the required minimum sizes. Proposed three-bedroom apartments would be from 1,350 to 1,450 square feet and studio sizes from 550 to 650 square feet. The village code requires 2,000 square feet for three-bedroom apartments, and 800 square feet for studios.
Developer Richard Tucker said the target residents would be young professionals and "older people in the area who decided not to have a house any longer, commonly known as ‘lock and leave’," who could use less space than families with children. He said a 1,000-square-foot apartment would cost $2,400 per month to rent.
Additionally, off-street parking would be reduced from the required 951 spaces to 705 spaces.
McNellis said that developers predict "a variety of retail uses with customer peak times at different parts of the day that do not necessarily overlap" as well as a predominant target hotel market of O’Hare International Airport travelers who don’t use their own cars but ride-share services or taxicabs.
McNellis also provided updates on economic incentive requests from Tucker Development, which included $31 million in Tax Increment Financing funds as well as a possible $3.3 million of hotel taxes that would be collected by the village.
Trustees will hold a public hearing at its Nov. 20 meeting about whether to create a new North Lincoln TIF District, which would replace the current devalued Lincoln-Touhy TIF District.
Also at the meeting, trustees approved a resolution pledging $11,000 in local funds for a $117,000 Safe Routes to School Program grant, which would fund road safety improvements such as raised crosswalks, vehicle speed displays and flashing beacons and stop signs along Pratt Avenue, East Prairie Road and Crawford Avenue near Todd Hall School, Rutledge Hall School and Lincoln Hall Middle School. Construction could begin in the fall 2019 if the grant is approved, according to village public works director Andrew Letson.
Trustees also directed the village attorney to draft a 2-year contract for a new village building inspection contractor, SAFEbuilt Illinois.
The village does not hire its own building inspectors and has used inspection and building plan review services through TIP Building Code Consultants since 2009. Staff had sought lower-cost alternatives and more efficient service providers and SAFEbuilt was chosen among six inspection vendors.
"We set our standards of what we were looking for, seeing over time that they kind of relaxed and went outside of the standards," Patel said of TIP Consultants. "We want to encourage contractors and spec builders to come here, buy homes, and do it over and over and over again, and the first thing they’re going to look at is how good is the review, how are the inspections."
Village development manager Doug Hammel said that the switch between inspection contractors could save $20,000 to $40,000 annually, due to proposed hourly rates ranging from $62.50 to $74 versus the current vendor’s rates of $78 per hour. The switch also brings the possibility of a faster turnaround of reviewed building plans and availability of inspection services on more days than currently offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he said.
As part of the consent agenda, trustees finalized the village’s total 2018 property tax levy of $5.7 million, which includes a 2.1 percent property tax increase, or $117,227 more, from the previous year’s budget. Much of the tax increase will be used to fund a $308,000 increase in police pension payments.
Also at the meeting, trustees approved an amended liquor license for the future Walmart drive-up grocery development at 6850 N. McCormick Boulevard, allowing the store to begin selling alcohol at 8 a.m.
The newly created Class B-1 liquor license would allow the Walmart to sell alcohol earlier than any other store in Lincolnwood, which normally begins at 9 a.m. The Village will charge Walmart $1,500 annually for the license.
Also at the meeting, the board adopted an ordinance that will allow the installation of yield signs at six intersections in order to address speeding of vehicles in the area bounded by Pratt, Lincoln, Crawford and Touhy avenues.
Under the pilot Yield Sign Program, signs will be installed for north and south traffic on Kedvale and Estes avenues, Kedvale and Lunt avenues, Keystone and Estes avenues, Keystone and Lunt avenues, Keystone and Morse avenues, and for east and west traffic for Lunt and Karlov avenues.