WICKER PARK — A stodgy brick bank next to a row of dilapidated buildings along Wicker Park's "southern gateway" could be transformed into a 7-story, 58-unit glass and metal apartment building on the northwest corner of Milwaukee and Ashland avenues near the Polish Triangle.
LG Development Group is proposing "a handsome looking building with a good facade facing the Polish Triangle," said Ed Tamminga, chairman of the Wicker Park Committee's preservation and development subcommittee.
"We were looking for a good quality statement building on that corner," Tamminga said.
After several months of meetings with members of Tamminga's group, LG Development will present its final design for a building with apartments and retail to members of the group on Wednesday, Our Urban Times reported.
Primarily made up of one-bedroom apartments, the plan for 1237-53 N. Milwaukee Ave. and 1230-40 N. Ashland Ave. includes 49 one-bedroom apartments (37 of those slightly larger with a den), six studio apartments and three two-bedroom units.
There is a green roof on the seventh floor, according to renderings.
In previous talks with the group, Tamminga said other designs were passed over because "the geometry was not inspiring" when paired will a dull office building that houses a Bank of America at 1237 N. Milwaukee Ave. at the base of the development.
"The driving factor of this whole [new] design is that they made the Bank of America building disappear by wrapping it into the design concept for the main building," Tamminga said.
Tamminga called "the glass box proposal," which was redesigned by LG's Development's in-house architect Gabriel Leahu a "vast improvement over the masonry and storefront box that is now here."
Leahu said that the brown brick facade above the bank will be replaced with glass and metal panels, so that the bank's facade will blend in with the rest of the building, which could offer up to four retail storefronts on the ground-level next to the bank.
Leahu said the building's materials are glass and a combination of corrugated metal, plain and perforated metal panels.
For the massive project, which spans some 50,000 square feet, to move forward, LG Development group is seeking an "upzone" from the neighborhood group and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st).
Moreno told Our Urban Times that he would not approve the developer's request to change the property's zoning to allow for greater density unless LG Development co-owner Brian Goldberg complies with the city's affordable housing ordinance for residential development, which requires that buildings with 10 or more apartments earmark 10-percent of its housing to affordable units.
Reached by phone Thursday, Goldberg, one of three owners of LG Development, said that the building will comply with the ordinance and offer affordable units.
Since Bank of America has a 17-year lease, the bank will remain on the ground floor of the development during the construction, Leahu said.
Work on the project is expected to begin in early 2015 and be completed by early 2016.
There is no parking planned for the 58 units due to the fact the building is within a few hundred feet of the Division Blue Line station and directly in front of two CTA bus routes and, if it eventually materializes, the Ashland Bus-Rapid Transit route.
Chicago Apartment Finders, which recently opened a new office in Wicker Park, will be responsible for the leasing of the apartments, Goldberg said.
The six floors of dwellings will offer 700 square-feet for the studios; 850 square-feet for the one-bedroom apartments; 950 square-feet for the one-bedrooms with den, and 1100 square feet for the two-bedroom and two-bath units.
The presentation of the building's design and a vote for a zoning change is scheduled to be discussed at 6 p.m. Wednesday at The Southern. 1840 W. North Ave. For more information, visit wickerparkcommittee.com
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