Buildings demolished in Gladstone Park for possible dealership; storage facility proposed for movie theater
by BRIAN NADIG
A possible car dealership at Parkside and Milwaukee avenues and a proposed storage facility inside a former movie theater at McCormick Boulevard and Devon Avenue are among the area’s development projects.
Marino Chrysler Jeep Dodge has been using the former site of Gateway Chevrolet at 5371-73 N. Milwaukee Ave. for vehicle storage, but a Marino representative has said that the company has a long-range plan to open a dealership there. Marino’s main showroom is located at 5133 W. Irving Park Road.
Marino recently acquired a former accounting office at 5351 N. Milwaukee Ave. and a motorcycle repair shop at 5353 N. Milwaukee Ave. and had those buildings demolished. Two other buildings at 5381 and 5389 N. Milwaukee Ave. which Gateway once used also have been demolished this summer, and those sites are being paved.
Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that not all of the lots acquired by Marino are zoned for car sales and that no plans for a dealership have been submitted to the alderman’s office. He said that Marino has been addressing concerns about maintenance of the lots where vehicles have been stored.
The former Gateway showroom is the only building standing along the east side of the 5341 to 5389 block of North Milwaukee Avenue.
In Peterson Park, Banner Storage is seeking to convert a former movie theater at 6341 N. McCormick Blvd. into a self-storage facility and to construct an addition to the building. A former car wash at 6345 N. McCormick Blvd. would be razed to allow for the addition.
The 60-foot-tall storage facility would contain 95,164 square feet of floor area. Plans call for the site to be rezoned from RS-2, which is intended primarily for single-family homes, to C1-3, which allow for commercial uses.
In Norwood Park, a developer is interested in building a Starbuck’s Coffee with a drive-through facility on a 27,000-square-foot vacant parcel at the Harlem-Northwest Highway intersection, but the project would be contingent on having a curb cut on Harlem.
The site is next to a railroad crossing, and concerns have been raised that a vehicular entrance on Harlem could cause a traffic backup, leading to some northbound cars being stopped on the railroad tracks. A former car dealership on the site did not have an entrance on Harlem.
Alderman Anthony Napolitano’s chief of staff Chris Vittorio said that the city Department of Transportation has conducted a preliminary review of the project and feels that a Harlem entrance would be feasible if it were restricted to right turns for both entering and exiting vehicles. He said that the department also may want to require the same restriction for any curb cut on Northwest Highway.
In Portage Park, the site of a parking lot behind the former Bank of America at 4901 W. Irving Park Road recently was rezoned from RS-3 to B1-1 to accommodate the redevelopment of the bank building. An Aldi’s grocery store has been proposed for the first floor of the building, while a theater on the second floor would be preserved.
A manager is being sought for the 300-seat theater, which would be made available for use to community groups, Brugh said. “That space fills a particular need. Most theaters are much bigger or much smaller,” Brugh said.
A fitness center and a Culver’s are among those businesses that have expressed interest in the project, Brugh said. The project also would include the redevelopment of other properties in the block.
In Old Irving Park, Arena has introduced an ordinance to lift a liquor license moratorium on Milwaukee between Addison Street and Grace Street to allow for a transfer of a license for the Grayland Pub, 3734 N. Milwaukee Ave. No objections to the transfer were raised at a community meeting in which the new operator talked to residents, Brugh said.
Also, plans for a proposed mixed-use development at 8353 W. Higgins Ave. will be presented to the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Board at its meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, at the Olympia park fieldhouse, 6566 N. Avondale Ave. The project would include several office buildings, with the tallest being 14 stories, and about 200 residential units and 2,294 parking spaces.