WICKER PARK — A developer is proposing a seven-story, 128-unit apartment building anchored by an Aldi grocery store for the southeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Street.
Centrum Partners LLC's proposed development, which would span 171,426 square feet near the elevated Bloomingdale Trail, has not yet been vetted by community groups and is in the early stages, according to Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd).
The developer would need a zoning change to create the project.
The alderman said Thursday he advised the developers to meet with two neighborhood groups, the Bucktown Community Organization and the Wicker Park Committee, before proceeding any further.
Waugespack said he told the developer his initial reaction was that he had "serious concerns" about the project's height and density.
Graham Palmer, a Centrum Partners official who is leading the project, was not immediately available to comment on the plan.
The design renderings have been circulating among the leaders of Wicker Park and Bucktown community groups for the past week.
Ed Tamminga, chairman of the Wicker Park Committee's preservation and zoning committee, said the project would require "upzoning" for it to be constructed.
"It's a big leap going from a B1 to a B5 [zoning], I am not sure it is acceptable or would be supported by the neighborhood," he said.
The mixed-use residential and retail development at 1759-67 N. Milwaukee Ave. would be designed by Hirsch Associates.
The plan would have a 17,500-square-foot Aldi grocery store on the ground level along with another 1,792 square feet of retail, an onsite leasing office and 62 parking spots, according to plans.
The second floor would house a parking garage for 72 cars and floors three through seven would offer 128 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The average apartment size would be around 747 square feet.
Most of the building would be facing Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Street and about one-third of the apartments would abut the trail and overlook the path, according to renderings.
Long a staple at the Milwaukee and Leavitt intersection, Aldi underwent a significant remodeling two years ago, though it remained a one-story building.
Centrum does not own the Aldi building but has a contract in the works to buy it, according to real estate sources, who confirmed that Aldi would be the grocery tenant for the project, if it were to be approved.
Late Thursday, Paul Sajovec, a spokesman for Waguespack, said, "The height of the building will depend on the ultimate number of residential units the neighborhood organizations, the neighboring constituents, and the Alderman deem appropriate. Our current efforts are focused on facilitating this discussion so that we can determine whether there is a project that could be a positive contributor to the neighborhood and also is feasible for the developer."
Elsewhere in the neighborhood, Centrum is also seeking an upzone to build a seven-story, 77-unit apartment building at 1660 W. Division St. near the CTA Division Blue Line "L" station, though that plan is at a standstill due to similar concerns about height and density, Tamminga said.
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