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Belmont 'L' Station Could Get New Neighbor With Transit-Oriented Proposal

By Ariel Cheung | July 14, 2016 9:34pm
 Developers want to build a mixed-use building next to the Belmont "L" station.
Transit-oriented development proposed next to Belmont "L" station
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LAKEVIEW — With a 10-foot easement imposed by the CTA, the vacant strip of land next to the Belmont "L" station had some major issues.

Developers deemed the property too small to build anything on the vacant lot at 945 W. Belmont Ave., they said. The space used to be larger before the city seized a portion of it for the new Belmont "L" platform in 2006.

So GW Properties bought the adjacent building that used to house Fashion Tomato, which relocated down the street in April. Now the group hopes to build a six-story, transit-oriented development next to the train platform.

The Chicago-based developers are asking Central Lake View Neighbors to approve a zoning change for the added height. The mixed-use building would have retail on the first two floors and apartments or incubator office space above.

"Part of the purpose for the height is to get us over the 'L' and act as a buffer for noise and everything from the CTA," said Sarah Barnes, the attorney representing the project.

An aerial view of a proposed mixed-use development shows its proximity to the Belmont "L" station. [Provided/GW Properties]

Ideally, developers would like to see a restaurant on the ground floor and business like a spa or fitness center above it.

That would leave three floors for apartments or offices, with a recessed penthouse at the top. Developers are leaving options open in preliminary designs, hoping to get feedback on what the neighborhood needs, Barnes said.

As a designated transit-oriented development, 945 W. Belmont Ave. would have no parking spaces, although bicycle parking is one of the city's requirements for such projects.

GW Properties looked into preserving aspects of the three-story building at 937 W. Belmont Ave., which was built in 1899.

However, the building "is in major need of a tremendous amount of repairs," said Mitch Goltz, principal developer with GW Properties. With the short building offering just 1,200 square feet per floor, it only takes up one-third of the land parcel, and renovating it "doesn't make sense," he said.

A proposed transit-oriented development could house apartments, but wouldn't need parking space due to its proximity to the Belmont "L" station. [Provided/GW Properties]

Developers do hope to incorporate some of the old building's architectural structures, Barnes said. While GW Properties did share some preliminary renderings with neighbors  on Tuesday, "we are still working through the coloring, the materials," she said.

"We want to have a building that's compatible with the character of the area," she added.

If apartments end up in the final plans, there would be 18 to 24, and two of the units would likely be designated affordable, in compliance with city regulation. However, Goltz kept open the option of contributing to the CHA as an alternative to offering the affordable housing.

"We haven't made that determination yet," he said.

Goltz said the anticipated Belmont flyover would have no impact on the property, unlike the long beleaguered patch of gravel across the street at 938 W. Belmont Ave.

After years of inaction frustrated neighbors, the plot was put up for sale in early 2015, only to be pulled back in April 2015 during talks on the Belmont flyover.

GW Properties will return to a future meeting of Central Lake View Neighbors for a vote on the zoning change. A listing for the retail property sets an opening date of summer 2017.

RELATED: Tunney Touts Belmont-Clark As 'Catalyst' To Improving Safety, Development

Just down the street, work continues on the Belmont-Clark project — the first major transit-oriented development in Lakeview. The $50 million project will have 90 apartments, with a scaled-back Target anchoring the first floor.

Construction at 3200 N. Clark St. should be complete by the end of 2016.

Check out more renderings of the 945 W. Belmont Ave. proposal:

Elevation renderings for 945 W. Belmont Ave. [Provided/GW Properties]

Renderings for 945 W. Belmont Ave. [Provided/GW Properties]

Elevation renderings for 945 W. Belmont Ave. [Provided/GW Properties]

Each of the upper floors would have about 7,000 square-feet of space, which could be divided up into apartments or office space. [Provided/GW Properties]

The sixth floor would be recessed from the front of the building. [Provided/GW Properties]

A rendering shows the space between the Belmont "L" station and the proposed building at 945 W. Belmont Ave. [Provided/GW Properties]


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