Updated plans released for former DiLeo’s/bank site at Elston & Central; underground parking would lower building’s height by 10 feet
by BRIAN NADIG
A revised proposal for the former DiLeo’s restaurant site at Central and Elston avenues calls for underground parking and a reduction in the building’s height from 51 to 41 feet.
“The earlier concerns expressed to the developer were heard,” Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association president Joe DiCiaula said. “A lot of what we said was addressed. Lower height, larger units, a higher parking ratio and the elimination of retail.”
Alderman James Gardiner (45th) said on April 21 that he discussed the revised proposal with the association’s board and that the feedback “seemed favorable.” He added that he plans to seek further input from “neighbors closest to the site” before holding a public meeting on the proposal.
The initial proposal in 2019 called for a four-story building with 52 apartments on the upper floors and commercial space and parking on the ground floor. The new plan calls for the elimination of the storefronts and the construction of three floors of residential units over a level of below-grade parking.
In all, there would now be 40 apartments, 40 underground parking spaces and 21 surface spaces behind the building, according to project attorney John Pikarski Jr. The apartment mix would consist of 12 one-bedroom, 25 two-bedroom and three three-bedroom units.
“It will bring an infusion of vitality to that area,” Pikarski said. He added that the project would exceed the city’s parking requirement by more than 50 percent.
Residents’ objections to the earlier proposal centered around the building’s height along with a variety of parking and traffic concerns. Several residents also said that they preferred larger units over studios, which have since been eliminated from the project, and that there was no need for the storefronts given the numerous vacancies to the north in the same block on Central. Residents said there is plenty of existing vacant space for businesses to move into.
The proposal requires the 33,272-square-foot triangular property to be rezoned from B3-1 to B2-3, which allows for ground-floor residential use. The underground parking would be accessible from a driveway on Parkside Avenue, located south of Elston, and the surface parking would be accessible from both Parkside and Seminole Street.
Meanwhile, Pikarski said that the site’s owner is working to complete the demolition of the existing building, which in more recent years was used as a bank. The demolition began last fall, but the city issued a stop work order.
There is water in the basement, and a permit from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is required before it can be pumped into the sewer, Pikarski said.
“I am actively trying to help expedite the water permit needed to finish the demolition work,” Gardiner said.