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Corner Restaurant Sought for Rehabbed Devon Ave. Storefronts: Developer

By Benjamin Woodard | January 13, 2015 11:12pm
 Developer Scott Whelan plans to build residential units atop the storefronts at 1221-27 W. Devon Ave.
Developer Scott Whelan plans to build residential units atop the storefronts at 1221-27 W. Devon Ave.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

EDGEWATER — The developer of Lincoln Square's Fountainhead is seeking a corner restaurant for his new Devon Avenue building.

Scott Whelan plans to rehab the storefronts at 1221-27 W. Devon Ave. and build a two-story addition for five apartment units facing Magnolia Avenue.

Edgewater Neighbors North, the area's block club, voted unanimously Tuesday night to support the proposed plans that would require a zoning change from B3-1 to B3-2 and a setback variance. The plans were first presented in November.

"We'd like to have something there," said Sue Fox, the neighborhood group's president. "This is great. We're very excited."

Whelan said he hoped his project, expected to take about 10 months to complete, would create a "snowball effect" of other development along Devon.

"I'm a breathe of fresh air because I'm going to make it brand new and beautiful," he said of the building he recently bought. Habibi Restaurant formerly occupied the corner storefront but was evicted.

Whelan has experience attracting successful restaurants to his developments. Five years ago, he built out the space at 1970 W. Montrose Ave. for Fountainhead, including the lauded rooftop. Whelan is also responsible for the extensive construction at 5352 North Broadway, the future home of Pearl's Southern Comfort.

Sara Dinges, an aide to Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), said a mailing would go out to neighbors regarding the proposed zoning changes Whelan would need.

A larger community meeting is planned for Jan. 27.

Whelan said he would begin some work soon, such as asbestos abatement and masonry work. He said he hopes to have the retail finished by June and the residential addition completed by the end of September — although the timing is contingent on the City Council approving the zoning changes, the Zoning Board of Appeals approving the variance and the city issuing construction permits.

The five recessed residential rental units on top of the building would all include three bedrooms and two bathrooms for about $2,400 a month.

The orange brick facade along Magnolia would also be opened up, allowing more storefront space. The facade would be painted a darker color.

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