LINCOLN PARK — Plans for a 17-story condo building that would be built on the site of the Market Place Foodstore have been in the works for 1½ years, according to the development team.
The development team, lead by Ken Barnes of Lexington Homes, is proposing a 205-foot-tall residential tower with a mostly glass facade on the site of the current grocery store, 523 W. Diversey Parkway.
Paul Biasco says the Market Place foodstore has struggled with national chains now in the neighborhood:
As part of the plan, Barnes and his team are seeking to rezone the land under the grocery store as well as the adjacent parking lot to allow for the height of the building and the large number of condos.
The grocery store land and parking lot do not share the same zoning designation and are separated by an alley, so the developer wants to combine them into one zoned development.
The plan is to build four single-family homes on the parking lot and limit their height to 50 feet while allowing for a taller condo building.
"They want to essentially take that lot and put it on top of the building," Smith said at the first community meeting to discuss the development Monday night. "That's what they are arguing to us."
The proposal, which the developer and Smith said was a scaled-back version of what Barnes initially wanted, calls for 78 condos and 81 parking spaces spread over two floors above 7,700 square feet of retail.
Two-bedroom units would be priced in the $600,000 range, with a smaller number of one-bedroom units at $400,000 and penthouses at more than $1 million, according to the developers.
Construction would take 1½ years, Barnes said.
A number of concerns raised by neighborhood residents include increased parking and traffic issues in what they said was an already congested area near the intersection of Diversey, Clark and Broadway.
Adding to those concerns is a proposal for a 50-unit apartment building across the street in Lakeview. The Parkway East project at 506-514 W. Diversey Pkwy. would include ground-floor retail, two stories of residential parking, 44 two-bedroom apartments and six three-bedroom penthouse suites.
Monday night's meeting was the first time Lexington Homes' proposal was brought in front of the community. Smith said she expected there would be a number of more meetings to iron out the plan, and she said there was no timetable on the project.
“Plans that were much bigger with many many more units were proposed and we rejected them completely out of hand," Smith said.
An architect on the project admitted that the developers knew the height of the building would be an issue in the neighborhood, but pointed out a handful of neighboring buildings with comparable heights including the Park View Tower (190 feet), Brewster Building (122 feet) and Hampden Green Condo building (202 feet).
The original proposal that the group brought to Smith 1½ years ago included more than 200 rental units and was 20 stories tall, according to Mara Georges, the former city corporation counsel who's working as an attorney for the developers.
"It has been a long process for us to get here," Georges said. Smith "was able to convince us that it was wise to go with something much less dense, something much smaller in height, a project that less filled the site."
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