The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Belmont 'L' Community Garden Moves To Make Way For Ultra-Modern Development

By Ariel Cheung | June 7, 2017 6:53am
 The project will be seven stories tall and feature a contemporary gray facade.
Transit-Oriented Development Near Belmont 'L' Approved
View Full Caption

LAKEVIEW — With a splashy new facade, a new development in on track to replace the Fashion Tomato building and what was once a community garden next to the Belmont "L" station.

Meanwhile, the garden has been moved one block south, to 945 W. Fletcher St. Already, sprouts and stalks have brightened the 20 patches adjacent to the Red, Purple and Brown Line tracks that run along Sheffield Avenue.

Like its predecessor, the Fletcher Community Garden is on CTA property, a former parking lot which the department allowed Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) to convert with help from Surf Development Corporation.

Although the plots are already full with gardeners, the alderman's office has started a waiting list for future expansion and the second Lakeview Community Garden on Diversey Parkway. For more information, email Jessica.Papp@cityofchicago.org.

Some 20 garden plots make up the new Fletcher Community Garden, which moved from Belmont to make way for a development. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

In its place will be a six-story, mixed-use building with 33 apartments and two ground-floor retail spaces at 935 W. Belmont Ave. The project will also mean the razing of the three-story building at 937 W. Belmont Ave., which was built in 1899 and more recently was home to Fashion Tomato.

The current building at 945 W. Belmont Ave. [Provided/44th Ward]

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, they said. The property used to be larger before the city seized a portion of it for the new Belmont "L" platform in 2006.

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

So GW Properties bought the adjacent building that used to house Fashion Tomato, which moved down the street in April.

When the Chicago-based developers first proposed the project in July, they said the building was "in major need of a tremendous amount of repairs" that didn't make financial sense.

At that time, developers offered up renderings of a white stone and dark brick building with long rectangular windows. The more traditional facade was replaced in November with a sleek gray facade that features a contemporary gradient design meant to block view of the CTA tracks with a geometric pattern.

Developers first pitched this white stone and brick facade in July before replacing it with a more contemporary design. [Provided/GW Properties]

Inside, developers asked for input from neighbors last year before deciding whether the upper floors of the building would be filled with retail tenants like a fitness center, office space or apartments.

The ground floor is parceled into two retail units of 2,000 square feet each. Behind them, residents will enter through a locking gate within an eight-foot tall security fence shielding a garden path and cafe seating for the north-facing retailer.

Residents will enter locked gates along eight-foot tall security fences outside 945 W. Belmont Ave. [Provided/44th Ward]

Two retail spaces would front the ground level of 945 W. Belmont Ave. [Provided/44th Ward]

A bicycle and trash room surround the elevator lobby, which leads to five floors of apartments. Most are one-bedroom units, with four studio units and six two-bedroom apartments.

The project includes no parking spaces, which would be allowed under the city's "transit-oriented development" rules that allow buildings near public transportation to include far fewer parking spaces than normally required of developments of their size.

The one-bedroom units average 730 square feet, while the two-bedroom units are 900-1,200 square feet and the studios are each 569 square feet.

Second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-floor plans for 945 W. Belmont Ave. show the range of apartment units in the mixed-use development. [Provided/44th Ward]

Although the 44th Ward has signed off on the requested zoning change, it will still take several months for developers to acquire demolition and construction permits.

The apartments will be smaller on average than those just down the street at 3200 N. Clark St., another development home to luxury apartments and a soon-to-open Target.

With 29 apartments still listed as available online, Lakeview 3200 is about two-thirds occupied since it opened for business in the first few months of 2017.

On average, the building's 57 one-bedroom apartments run around $2,300 per month. From a 560-square-foot unit to some as large as 900 square feet, the one-bedroom units average 711 square feet.

RELATED: $2,750 For A 1-Bedroom? Living At Luxurious Belmont-Clark Will Cost You

Almost all the two-bedroom apartments also have two bathrooms and average $3,149 per month. Those 27 units average about 1,119 square feet, although some are as small as 847 square feet.