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Riddell Development To Have Homes in Any Color ... As Long as It's White

By Patty Wetli | April 14, 2015 9:51am | Updated on April 15, 2015 8:40am
 A rendering of the proposed 48-home development on the site of the former Riddell helmet manufacturing plant.
A rendering of the proposed 48-home development on the site of the former Riddell helmet manufacturing plant.
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Ranquist Development Group

OLD IRVING PARK — It's fourth and goal for plans to develop the former home of Riddell's helmet manufacturing plant on Milwaukee Avenue.

Owned since 2007 by Dubin Residential, the long-vacant 4.1-acre site at 3670-3738 N. Milwaukee Ave. is poised to switch hands, with Ranquist Development Group in negotiations to buy the property.

Ranquist unveiled its proposal to build 48 single-family homes on the parcel at Monday's meeting of the Old Irving Park Association.

The development, dubbed Basecamp Old Irving Park, picks up where Dubin's most recent plan, approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in April 2014, left off.

Ranquist has simply made a handful of modifications to Dubin's concept, reducing the number of homes from 49 to 48 and altering floor plans to accommodate four bedrooms instead of three. Because the site was approved as a planned development, Ranquist needs to go back to the Plan Commission to request a "minor change."

A site plan for the former Riddell site. Note: Home 49 has been converted to green space. Ranquist Development Group

Letters of support from the Old Irving Park Association, as well as Ald. John Arena (45th), would likely be enough to satisfy the commission, Ranquist's Zev Salomon explained at the meeting.

It's a "stroke of the pen," he said. 

Ranquist could close on the property within 45 days and begin demolition by June 1. Construction would begin in the fall, with the first homes ready for sale by spring 2016, according to Salomon.

Prices will range from $480,000 to $600,000. Those interested in viewing a model sooner than later are welcome to visit Ranquist's River North Basecamp development at Cleveland and Oak streets, in the footprint of the former Cabrini-Green housing project, Salomon said.

Residents are hoping the fourth time's the charm for the Riddell site, the improvement of which Arena called "long overdue."

The vacant parcel is "not reflective of Old Irving Park" and is holding back additional progress along the corridor, said the alderman, who attended Monday's meeting.

The current vacant lot. Google Street View

Dubin's original plan for 57 town homes and 16 single-family homes was scrapped during the economic downturn, and a subsequent proposal for 250 apartments was rejected as too dense for the neighborhood.

Conceding to the neighborhood association's desire for single-family homes, Dubin's 2014 plan was positively received and given the thumbs up from residents and Arena.

"We've taken what was allowed and we've tweaked it," Salomon said. "We want to bring this to life."

Old Irving Park Association president Anna Zolkowski Sobor called for a show of hands in support of the proposal and received a unanimously favorable response at Monday's meeting.

The only quibble was with Ranquist's choice of white exteriors for all 48 homes, an aesthetic decision Salomon stood behind.

Arena joked that the developer could become known as the "Henry Ford of the housing industry."

"You can get any color you want, as long as it's white," he said.

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