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Modern Development Near Sheridan 'L' Questioned on Parking, Density

By Serena Dai | March 5, 2014 12:54pm
 Loukas Development is proposing an eight-story building at Sheridan and Dakin.
3936 N. Sheridan Dr.
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LAKEVIEW — Residents near a proposed modern, eight-story building by the Sheridan "L" stop questioned its design this week, with some saying it needs more parking and less density.

Loukas Development is seeking approval for a new development at 3936 N. Sheridan Road, at Dakin Street, with retail, 60 housing units and 23 parking spaces. It would replace a vintage three-story building with no parking.

Developer Aristithis Loukas is taking advantage of transit-oriented development ordinances that allow lower parking-per-unit ratios for new construction near train stops.

But some members of East Lake View Neighbors questioned the density and parking levels at Tuesday's meeting, expressing fear that fewer spaces and more units would cause traffic problems.

"I don’t care what the trend is and what stupid laws are passed," one man said. "It’s not appropriate."

Others wondered about preserving some of the current building's design. Uptown's Marty Tangora, a historic preservationist on Ald. James Cappleman's (46th) zoning board, noted that the building's architects Huehl and Schmidt lived in Lakeview and also built the Medinah Temple downtown, where Bloomingdale's now is.

Loukas said there is no existing plan to add parking or preserve parts of the building.

Adding another parking ramp would change the floor plan and not make the development cost effective, he said. Most of his tenants commute by train or bike anyway, and retailers have not had an issue with parking in the past, he said.

And renovating the current building would be "very costly" and may have to be totally rebuilt, he said.

"Although preserving the existing architecture is good, there’s an abundance of new cutting edge architects who will be historic in the next 100 years," Loukas said. "To say that the old is more significant than the new is impossible to say."

At least one resident supported the amount of parking, Suzanne Carlson, who's previously advocated for alternative transportation modes in the neighborhood. She lives nearby and, like many of her neighbors, does not drive, she said.

Gus Isacson, executive director of Central Lakeview Merchants Association, also supported the amount of parking in the project.

"I think you could do zero parking easily," Carlson said.

Loukas, who grew up in the neighborhood and has worked as a developer here for more than a decade, also presented at Cappleman's zoning and development committee last week, where the project was well-received.

"We’re really interested in doing something nice that will benefit everyone," he said.

East Lake View Neighbors "will hold a lot of sway" in the project's outcome, said Abby Sullivan, a member of Cappleman's staff who was present at the meeting on Tuesday. The group will take feedback from residents and will later present an opinion to Cappleman.

But the city will not find Loukas's zoning request changes or the amount of parking to be inappropriate, Sullivan said. The location is ideal for a high-density building, she said.

"This is a goal of the mayor," she said. "This is the goal of the city."