ROGERS PARK — Billionaire Col. Jennifer Pritzker's slightly revised plan to build an 8-story residential building — including 3 floors of parking — at 1313 W. Morse Ave. was approved this week by Ald. Joe Moore (49th).
The original design called for a 50-unit development across from the Mayne Stage, also owned and developed by Pritzker, where a vacant strip mall now sits.
After a community meeting, Sean McGowan, chief operating officer for Pritzker's real estate group Tawani Enterprises, said he'd met with Moore and other neighborhood organizations like Rogers Park Business Alliance and 49th Ward Zoning and Land Advisory Committee to nix studio floor plans (bringing the unit total down to 45), widen and beautify the building's street-facing facades and bring the building's loading dock into the parking garage.
“The Tawani development team brought to the community a good development plan and improved on it by making a series of significant and meaningful revisions incorporating feedback from residents and me,” Moore said.
Moore said he supported the project because he felt it would improve a "blighted corner" of the neighborhood. He touted additional parking and improvements made on the original design, adding that the building's design and overall structure would fit in with nearby developments.
Linze Rice says the neighborhood's population has dropped recently:
Some residents opposed the proposal because it excludes storefronts at the building's base, but in an email to residents, Moore said he stood by his decision to allow the development to go forward as planned.
"Those who support the addition of storefronts to the development make a strong case that occupied retail storefronts would add life and vitality to this portion of Morse Avenue. I don't disagree with that assessment," he said. "In this age of economic uncertainty, it is not abundantly clear that the 'if you build it, they will come' approach to retail development will necessarily result in storefronts occupied by desirable retail tenants at any point in the foreseeable future."
He also said some residents worried the building would draw more people into the area causing congestion and an increased population density.
However, Moore said the Rogers Park neighborhood has seen a 13 percent decrease in population since 2000, making the need to draw in outsiders essential.
Tawani Enterprises, also the developer behind 1340 W. Morse Ave., would need to get the land re-zoned from a B3-3 zone to a B3-5 designation to allow for a taller building with more apartments than what city code currently allows. Under a new zoning classification, developers could build the 83-foot-tall, 45-unit building they're proposing.
“Tawani looks forward to developing another exciting project that reflects our ongoing commitment to preserving and enhancing Chicago’s diverse communities," McGowan said in a statement. "We are proud to work in communities around Chicago utilizing thoughtful development and preservation practices to help inspire the continued growth of the City of Chicago.”
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