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updated: 1/18/2013 9:14 AM

Developers scale back Naperville Water Street plans

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  • Bob Koch of Naperville was one of at least 120 people to attend during the first hour of an open house Thursday night featuring updated designs for the proposed Water Street development in downtown Naperville. Developer Marquette Cos. hosted the open house to gather public input before presenting the proposal to the city council Feb. 19.

       Bob Koch of Naperville was one of at least 120 people to attend during the first hour of an open house Thursday night featuring updated designs for the proposed Water Street development in downtown Naperville. Developer Marquette Cos. hosted the open house to gather public input before presenting the proposal to the city council Feb. 19.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Renderings lined the perimeter of a room in the Naper Settlement's Pre-Emption House on Thursday night as Marquette Cos. presented the latest plans for the Water Street development in downtown Naperville.

       Renderings lined the perimeter of a room in the Naper Settlement's Pre-Emption House on Thursday night as Marquette Cos. presented the latest plans for the Water Street development in downtown Naperville.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • At least 120 people attended during just the first hour of an open house Thursday hosted by Marquette Cos., which was displaying updated plans for the Water Street development proposed for downtown Naperville.

       At least 120 people attended during just the first hour of an open house Thursday hosted by Marquette Cos., which was displaying updated plans for the Water Street development proposed for downtown Naperville.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
 

The Water Street development proposed for downtown Naperville has shrunk again.

At an open house Thursday night, Naperville-based developer Marquette Cos. presented updated plans that call for shorter buildings and fewer parking spaces as part of the development, which is slated to include a hotel and a mix of retail, restaurant and office spaces.

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The tallest buildings are proposed at five stories with roof heights of about 61 feet and architectural elements reaching a maximum of 69 feet. A 61-foot parking garage now is designed to contain 524 spaces instead of 580.

"We've taken height off every building," said Jeff Prosapio, director of project management for Marquette Cos.

The proposal still calls for a 166-room hotel with rooms on the north and south sides of River Street. Four buildings and a parking garage are proposed as part of the development, which would be bordered by the DuPage River and Aurora Avenue with Webster and Main streets as its east-west boundaries.

A restaurant originally planned for the roof of the building closest to the river now would be part of that building's fifth and highest floor, Prosapio said. The change helped bring the development's tallest point to 69 feet, down from previous proposals of 90 or 82 feet.

"We brought the rooftop restaurant over to the river side," Prosapio said. "It'll be an awesome outdoor dining experience facing the river."

Plans show outdoor dining also would be available at ground-level restaurants in an 8,715-square-foot plaza with a boardwalk near the river.

Marquette Cos. kept quiet about these changes since the development was rejected last month by the Naperville City Council. Prosapio said releasing details at an open house was a way to gather more public input before presenting final plans to the council Feb. 19.

At least 120 people attended during just the first hour of Thursday's open house, which ran from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Naper Settlement's Pre-Emption House. Some seemed excited for the mixed-use development to anchor the southern side of downtown Naperville, but many voiced continued concerns.

"My main concern through this whole process has been the height, especially of the parking garage," Naperville resident Chuck Lesnik said. "The other concern is the density and the traffic."

Naperville Mayor George Pradel said the open house allowed residents to talk directly with Marquette staff about how the development could affect the downtown where they shop, work or live.

"People need to ask the experts, the ones that are actually developing it, rather than come to the council and share their concerns," Pradel said.

A computer-animated traffic model on display at the open house showed projected traffic flow during the afternoon rush hour -- assuming the year was 2018, the Water Street development had been built as currently proposed, and a new traffic signal was installed at Webster Street and Aurora Avenue.

"I want people to see how much traffic it will generate," Pradel said.

Resident George Macko studied the traffic projection model Thursday night, saying the city already has a traffic problem and he still thinks the project is "too big." Resident Todra Oken and her daughter, Tiffany Oken, said they agreed, adding they worry a five-story building so close to the river could shadow Naperville's prized Riverwalk.

Prosapio said developers will consider written comments from open house attendees as they fine-tune their plans in advance of the Feb. 19 city council meeting.

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