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Big Development Could Be Coming to Wicker Park's Main Hub

By Alisa Hauser | December 17, 2013 10:58am
 Brian Goldberg from LG Development is eyeing five properties from 1643-57 N. Milwaukee Ave. and hopes to build apartments and retail storefronts there if a zoning change is approved.
LG Development Proposed Apartments
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WICKER PARK — A developer is seeking a zoning change that would allow him to build a four-story apartment building with retail storefronts just north of the Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection in Wicker Park.

Brian Goldberg of LG Development confirmed Monday that he hopes to buy five properties at 1643-57 N. Milwaukee Ave.

He plans 30 new apartments and 9,400 square feet of retail storefront to replace a car wash, shuttered restaurant, a century-old office building and a small parking lot.

Designed by the architectural firm Antunovich Associates, the building would have retail storefronts on the first floor, and three floors of apartments containing between nine and 11 apartments per floor, Goldberg said.

 If a zoning change is granted, a developer plans to purchase several properties between 1643-57 N. Milwaukee Ave. to build apartments and retail storefronts.
If a zoning change is granted, a developer plans to purchase several properties between 1643-57 N. Milwaukee Ave. to build apartments and retail storefronts.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

Occupants of the buildings include 1-on-1 Fitness at 1643 N. Milwaukee, a restaurant that once housed the shuttered Mado restaurant at 1647 N. Milwaukee Ave., a parking lot adjacent to a Wash Express Car Wash and the car wash itself at 1657 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The longtime owner of the properties is Stammich Management.

Gregory Stammich of the Stammich family declined to comment. But Goldberg said there is "a [sales] contract contingent on a zoning upgrade."

And while he is pursuing the zoning change Goldberg said he "may purchase the property regardless" of the outcome of the zoning effort.

Seeking approval to change the zoning from a manufacturing district to a B-3-3 residential shopping district, Goldberg plans to present a proposal to the Wicker Park Committee's Preservation Development's Subcommittee's meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the park field house, 1425 N. Damen Ave. 

Goldberg called the apartments "a good mix" of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments."

Comparing the Milwaukee, Damen and North intersection to the Ashland Avenue and Division Street corner, where an 11-story apartment building offering 99 apartments opened in October, Goldberg said the proposed apartments would be on "a more prolific corner" than Ashland and Division street.

"It's a great spot in the heart of Bucktown and Wicker Park. Milwaukee Avenue is changing so quickly," Goldberg said.

Goldberg said more details on the project, such as the number of parking spaces and a rendering of the building, would be available at the 7 p.m. meeting at the field house, 1425 N. Damen Ave.

Provided he receives approval from the Wicker Park Committee and 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti, who advised Goldberg to talk to the community group, the city's Zoning Board of Appeals could hear the zoning change request in January or February, Goldberg said.

Goldberg said there would be "a decent amount of parking but not a 1-to-1" ratio since the southern end of the building is within 1,200 feet of public transit.  The city's Transit Oriented Development ordinance allows new developments on "pedestrian streets" to offer less than 50 percent of the required 1-to-1 parking space to unit ratio.

Goldberg estimated he would create about 20 spaces for residential use.

Since the storefronts are under 10,000 square feet, Goldberg said he is "not required to have any parking for the retail [storefronts]."

Calling the apartments "a cool concept," Goldberg said the building would have bike parking and "encourage leasing to tenants who use public transportation and do not have cars."

In addition to the proposed project, LG Development recently developed 1480-84 N. Milwaukee Ave, home to a Native Foods Cafe and the upcoming Max's Wine Dive, and a luxury condo and retail building at 2037-39 W. Division St.

Goldberg's firm also recently renovated a storefronts at 1659 N. Damen Ave, which is now a Steve Alan boutique, and in the near future, Asics, which will replace Psychobaby at 1630 N. Damen Ave.

Though Goldberg's firm previously has worked with New York City-based Jenel Management on several previous projects, Goldberg said the proposed apartment project now is led by LG Development, and there no other partners on board.