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updated: 11/30/2012 3:38 PM

New look for Water Street plans in Naperville

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  • The proposed Water Street development in downtown Naperville has undergone several changes in response to concerns raised by some residents and council members.

      The proposed Water Street development in downtown Naperville has undergone several changes in response to concerns raised by some residents and council members.
    Courtesy Marquette Companies

 
 

A proposed development that could change the face of downtown Naperville is undergoing some changes itself before its next date with the city council.

Representatives of Marquette Companies said Friday they have updated their plan for the Water Street mixed-use development to address concerns about traffic congestion, parking availability and the height of the proposed buildings.

"The single biggest change is the elimination of the apartment use," said Jeff Prosapio, director of Marquette Companies. "It allowed us to accommodate the major issues that were being raised by the council."

The revised plan comes in time for discussion before the city council at 7 p.m. Tuesday at 400 S. Eagle St. The council will consider the Water Street plan for the third time after twice delaying a vote.

Opponents have called the development "immense," "too high, too dense and overwhelming," while supporters say it will add vitality to Naperville's commercial core.

The newest version of the plan, revised after the Nov. 20 council meeting, scraps 62 apartments and reduces the maximum height of the tallest building to 82 feet from 90.

"We wanted to have apartments in the district," Prosapio said. "It's good urban planning to have residential units in downtown areas. We still like that plan better, but we weren't able to accomplish it."

A Holiday Inn Express hotel planned for the site, between the DuPage River and Aurora Avenue, with Webster and Main streets as its east-west boundaries, has been downsized from six stories to five.

Most of its 163 to 177 rooms would be in a building on the south side of Water Street, but between 62 and 76 would be on the north side in a building bordering the river, Prosapio said. A pedestrian bridge first proposed in 2010 to connect the second floor of both buildings has been brought back into the design.

A rooftop restaurant on the hotel will bring the development's highest point to 82 feet, while most of the main building will be 65 feet tall.

Removing apartments from the design allowed Marquette Companies to free more parking for public use. Under the revised plan, 128 spots of 580 to be built in a parking deck will be reserved for hotel guests, while the remaining 452 will be public parking.

A traffic report prepared by V3 Companies found the most recent changes to the proposal do not substantially alter previous traffic projections.

If approved, Prosapio said the development will affect traffic, but engineers believe congestion will continue to build in downtown Naperville with or without the Water Street project. And the development could have one positive effect on traffic, he said.

"There will be a public parking facility with more than 450 spaces, so much of the southern traffic coming into the city will park there instead of coming through downtown," Prosapio said.

Plans for retail space have remained relatively the same, with 40,000 square feet available, but 20,000 additional square feet of office space has been added.

Developers spent Friday briefing councilmen on proposed changes before Tuesday's meeting. Prosapio said he expects council discussion and public comments, but a vote is not likely until Dec. 18.

"We think we have a very, very good plan now," he said, "with a higher probability of approval."

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