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Slimmed-Down Broadway Apartment Building Still Too Big, Residents Say

By Erica Demarest | September 3, 2014 8:01am
 After developers downsized plans for an apartment building at 3901 N. Broadway, some residents still complained the project was too large for the area.
3901 N. Broadway
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LAKEVIEW — After locals complained that a proposed 18-story building would be too big for Lakeview, developers on Tuesday said they'll pursue a scaled-down 15-story version of the project with fewer apartments and extra parking.

The changes weren't enough for some residents, who slammed the 3901 N. Broadway development at an East Lake View Neighbors meeting Tuesday night.

"It's too big," resident Marty Wallace said. "You went from 120 to 101 units. It doesn't mean anything. ... Fifteen stories is not going to work in this neighborhood at this particular time."

Developer Sedgwick Properties first presented plans in June to create a mixed-use building at the corner of Broadway and Sheridan. The lot once housed a Mobil gas station, but is currently vacant.

Original plans called for 18 stories with 120 rental apartments, 60 parking spaces and ground-floor retail space.

On Tuesday, attorney Rolando Acosta presented revised plans, which would call for 15 stories, 101 rental apartments, 68 parking spaces and 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

If approved, the building would be 170 feet tall, compared to 196 feet in the original plans.

Acosta said the new proposal is "roughly the height of the [Halsted] Flats building," which sits less than two blocks down the street at 3740 N. Halsted St.

The building will be closer to the sidewalk than originally anticipated to create more distance between it and the adjacent Sheridan Court condos, 718-728 W. Sheridan Rd.

The condo owners "expressed some concern about being close to their building, so we moved it further towards Broadway and Sheridan," Acosta said.

The building's first two levels will feature retail space along Broadway. Developers anticipate two 2,500-square-foot units, which will each be two stories tall for an airy, open aesthetic.

"It'll be neighborhood convenience retail, similar to what Starbucks has done across the street," said Paul Bryant, vice-president of Mid-America Real Estate Group.

Likely tenants could include doughnut or coffee shops, Byrant said. He noted that the development wasn't geared toward "destination retail," meaning stores that would attract people from other neighborhoods.

Behind the retail stores, residents will find two levels of parking with 34 spaces per floor, for a total of 68 residential parking spots.

Jay Feeley of Sedgwick Properties said half of the building's 101 apartments would be one-bedroom units, with rent starting at $1,500 per month. Two-bedrooms will start in the mid-$2,000s, and three-bedrooms will average $3,000.

Feeley said parking spots are included in rental prices "as part of the entire package."

Residents on Tuesday argued that 68 parking spaces wasn't nearly enough for such a large project in an already congested area.

One woman said she frequently sees cars double-parking — and getting towed — outside the Starbucks that sits directly across the street from the proposed development lot.

"My main concern is parking in a neighborhood that's already over-parked," said Tim Brent, a 23-year resident. "This is just too big for the neighborhood. It's not good."

Feeley pointed to the Halsted Flats, which has a 1:1 parking ratio. He said 80 percent of the apartments are currently leased, but only 40 percent of parking spots are occupied.

"I think in this day and age, the people who are paying these rents for these amenities don't want a car," Feeley said. "They don't want to pay for a car. If they need a car, they'll use a ZipCar for a day."

According to Acosta, the lot is currently zoned B3-2, which would allow for a 60-foot-tall mixed-used building. His team is seeking zoning changes to create a taller building with fewer parking spaces than are currently required. This would be B3-5 zoning with modifications.

If the zoning changes are not approved, developers said on Tuesday they'll pull the project.

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