UPTOWN — The corner of Broadway and Sheridan Road is one step closer to turning into a mixed-use development.
The development at 3817-45 N. Broadway received almost unanimous approval for a zoning change from community group representatives at a 46th ward zoning and development committee meeting Monday evening held at Weiss Hospital, 4646 N. Marine Drive. There were 22 votes in favor and one abstention.
Building owner and developer Dave Gassman needed the committee's approval to change the zoning on the stretch of Broadway in question so that it's consistent. Right now, the block — which includes the Isaac G. Ettleson building, a historic structure known as the "eagles building" — has a number of different zoning designations.
The overall plan hasn't changed much from the previous meeting. Gassman still wants to build an 80-foot-tall, mixed-use development in Lake View East that would include 93 residential units, 93 parking spots, office space and retailers.
It still includes tearing down the "eagles building" and rebuilding it, because there's no way to preserve it without "taking everything down" first, Gassman has said. Originally built in 1911 and designed by architect Harry Hale Waterman, the building gets its nickname from the eagles rendered in terra cotta around its perimeter.
Much of the meeting was spent discussing an alternative drive proposed on Broadway that would be located approximately 200 feet north of Grace Street that could be used by neighbors and tenants alike during rush hour. The right-in/right-out access drive would provide one inbound lane and one outbound lane; left turns would be prohibited.
Its purpose is to relieve congestion from the alley that extends along the east side of the proposed development, which is often clogged with trucks and cars during rush hour. A traffic study, which was requested at the previous meeting, is posted to the alderman's website.
Some residents worried that the drive would eventually become private for building tenants, but Tressa Feher, Ald. James Cappleman's (46th) chief of staff, said even if that were to happen, the drive would still help reduce traffic in the congested alley.
Gassman told the committee that he doesn't intend to go back on the promise of keeping the drive open to neighbors during peak traffic times.
"I've owned the property on the street for 25 years and hopefully I'll be there for 25 more," he said. "I'm a neighborhood person. I'm trying to make what's right for the neighborhood."
Right now, the stretch of Broadway in question is home to a Starbucks, a real estate office, dry cleaning business and chiropractic office, among other retailers. Questions were raised at the previous meeting about whether the existing tenants would be able to stay. Gassman has said he's not looking to replace them with one giant retailer.
But it looks like at least one tenant, Strawdog Theatre Co., 3925 N. Broadway, may have to relocate.
"Unfortunately, I can't accommodate them again in this building," Gassman said.
Cappleman said he's working with the Strawdog team to help them find a new home in Lakeview, or elsewhere. The theatre company could not be immediately reached for comment.
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