RAVENSWOOD — A community meeting to discuss the development of 18 condos at 4040 and 4050 N. Hermitage Ave. brought out neighbors concerned about how the project would change the character of the block of single family homes.
Issues like parking, construction noise and traffic, affordable housing units and the financial feasibility of the project were addressed by the principal developer, Joe Zivkovic, at the meeting last week at Ravenswood Presbyterian Church held by Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th).
The proposal is to transform an old screw factory and build on an adjacent lot to offer two buildings with a total of seven two-bedroom and 11 three-bedroom condominiums. The screw factory will house 15 condos, and the new building will house three. Construction will last from about March through the end of 2018.
Two of the condos will be affordable housing units, and they will likely be split up between the two buildings.
By utilizing hydraulic parking, there will be 29 parking spaces for the larger building and three for the smaller building, putting parking at almost two spaces per unit, or double the requirement.
Zivkovic said he anticipates the affordable units to sell for somewhere in the $400,000 range, and the rest will be priced at around $800,000-$1 million.
In order to begin the project, the properties need to be rezoned.
Ernie Constantino, planning and development director for Ald. Pawar's office, said under the developers' zoning change request, they would be locked into whatever plans they present at the time of the zoning change. The zoning would not be able to change again withoutcity approval, no matter who owns the property.
The concerns raised by neighbors at the meeting all centered around one theme: that developments adding 18 residential units would alter the character of their block of single family homes, both visually and culturally.
But Zivkovic said his plan is the best case scenario for the properties.
"We passed out leaflets, and a lot of people wanted to see this building saved," he said. "And I think I can offer the best development. I'm willing to be very transparent here because I do believe that what we're going to be doing is better than what anyone else would be doing."
Neighbors at the meeting seemed most concerned with parking, which they said is already an issue.
Even with the 32 additional parking spaces, some argued having so many more residents on the block would lead to an even more dire street parking situation when those new residents have guests or if they decide the hydraulic parking is too much of a hassle.
Zivkovic disagreed that street parking would be affected by the development, though, and said everyone would have to wait and see if it was an issue and address it when the time comes.
Another concern was construction noise and traffic. Constantino said city rules allow loading, unloading and staging beginning at 7 a.m., and any use of power tools can only last from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week.
Zivkovic said traffic will not be a problem because construction vehicles will be able to park in the building itself.
Other concerns were whether the project was financially viable, with some neighbors feeling the prices were too high.
But Zivkovic said the asking prices are in line with other similar properties.
"This is going to be the best loft development in Chicago," he said. "There aren't that many loft developments like this in Chicago on a single-family street. I personally believe this will sell out before I finish it.
"I'm optimistic, but I'm putting my money where my mouth is — I've got to build this thing," he continued. "And believe me, these will be the best condos in that neighborhood. I personally will take a unit, maybe two."
Questions and comments on this development should be submitted to Constantino at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-549-4555.