Aug. 12 meeting set for proposed 9 market-rate units near Austin & Montrose
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) will hold a community meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 12, on a proposal to build nine market-rate apartments on the site of a parking lot at 4420 N. Austin Ave.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at Dunham Park fieldhouse, 4638 N. Melvina Ave., and due to social distancing guidelines, only one person per household will be admitted, and no children will be allowed. The wearing of face coverings also is required.
The 4,660-square-foot parcel was once an auxiliary parking lot for the former Byline Bank at the northwest corner of Montrose and Austin avenues.
In 2018 community opposition stopped a plan to build a 7-Eleven convenience store and a gas station at the corner. That project would have included use of the parking lot on Austin.
Sposato said that it is his understanding that the owner of a Shell gas station at 5959 W. Montrose Ave. ended up buying the properties in an effort to help prevent another gas station from opening at the intersection and that he is now trying to sell the land. There also is a restrictive covenant attached to the property’s deed which prohibit’s a new bank at the corner, he said.
Under the proposal the site of the parking lot would be rezoned from RS-2 to B2-3.
There would be one parking space for each apartment, with a projected monthly rent of about $2,000, Sposato said. The project is not large enough to be subject to the city’s affordable housing requirements.
"We’ll see what the community thinks (of the proposal)," Sposato said, adding that there are often vehicles parked in the lot. "You didn’t want the 7-Eleven. What do we put there?"
The proposed three-story height of the project would not be much different than the height of a 2 1/2-story "modern-looking" home on the block, Sposato said. About 3 years ago several area homeowners signed a petition in support of an addition to the house, he said.
(photo by Jason Merel)