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Neighbors Say Rendering of Proposed Building 'Obscene' Addition to Lakeview

By Serena Dai | March 20, 2013 8:14am

LAKEVIEW — A rendering of a potential three-floor, five-condo building with black brick and glass bombed in front of neighbors when developers showed it in hopes of receiving a zoning change.

Father-and-son development team John and Luke Bakalar presented potential plans for a 7,000-square-foot, 38-feet-tall contemporary condo building at 1034 W. Wellington Ave. to Central Lake View Neighbors last week, seeking their approval to change the property's zoning designation from one for a single-family home to one allowing a three-flat or townhouse.

The home now is divided into four units that the family rents out. They proposed a three-story building with five condos.

But when the Bakalars presented the renderings for the contemporary building, a chorus of neighbors quickly said the design was a sharp departure from the traditional homes in the area.

One neighbor called it "so out of touch with this neighborhood, it's obscene."

"I’m not saying that’s ugly," one woman said, "I’m just saying it looks like an office building."

The Bakalars have owned and developed condo buildings throughout the city and "have a passion for contemporary architecture," Luke Bakalar said. They've owned the property for several years. The new property would have parking and would be back two feet from the front of the lot.

They said they felt the neighborhood housed several more contemporary-looking buildings but were willing to make a few changes. The brick, for example, could be red instead of black, John Bakalar said. 

"I wouldn’t say that the fabric of the neighborhood has one definition," he said. "It’s a pretty diverse neighborhood as far as architecture."

The Bakalars must present again at next month's Central Lake View Neighbors' meeting on April 11 at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital before members vote on the zoning change. Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) takes the vote into consideration before making a decision. 

Several said the neighborhood was nearly taken over by bigger buildings during the housing boom, and residents rallied to limit development to try and maintain a homier feel to the area south of Belmont Ave. The Bakalars' request is exactly what they fought against back then, they said.