SAUGANASH — A developer looking to build a row of four-story apartment buildings in Sauganash must find more room for parking before the proposal can move forward, Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th) told him at a community meeting Wednesday.
Dr. John Michael, who owns a half-block tract of vacant structures in the 6300 block of North Pulaski Road, presented plans to raze and replace them with four buildings combining for 21 high-end apartments and seven small offices.
Michael called the long-empty string of storefronts an "eyesore," saying upkeep of the derelict buildings had become a burden.
"I'm hoping we can develop it into something that's much more usable and physically appealing than what we currently have," Michael said.
Each apartment would include three bedrooms and two bathrooms, with a balcony and a fireplace, according to Ivan Tomic, an attorney representing Michael. The commercial spaces, measuring a little more than 1,000 square feet each, would be marketed mostly for "lawyers, accountants and doctors," Tomic said.
Indoor garages would provide one parking space for each of the apartments, but multiple attendees at Wednesday's meeting, including Bill Morrissey, chafed at the plan's lack of dedicated spots for tenants of the downstairs offices.
"Even if you've only got two employees driving in to work at each of these spaces, that's almost 20 spots that are going to be displaced," said Morrissey, the president of the Sauganash Park Improvement Association. "That's a lot of parking you're putting out into the street."
Speaking at the end of the meeting, Laurino called the plan "a nice opportunity for our community to have more housing" but asked the developer to codify plans for the extra spots.
The alderman, who would need to approve a zoning change in order for the project to go forward, suggested Michael lease spaces from St. Odishu Church, 6201 N. Pulaski Road — or from the Elim Romanian Pentacostal Church, which is set to replace Monastero's Ristorante and Banquets, 3935 W. Devon Ave., by the end of the year.
"That's the benefit of having involved communities," Laurino said. "You can have a collaboration where you're using their parking during the week, and they're using it over the weekend when they need it."