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updated: 7/21/2017 2:25 PM

Building to bring new retail, apartments near Naperville train station

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  • A retail and apartment building called The Washington has been approved to be built on a vacant lot on the east side of Washington Street at 7th Avenue north of downtown Naperville near the 5th Avenue Metra station.

    A retail and apartment building called The Washington has been approved to be built on a vacant lot on the east side of Washington Street at 7th Avenue north of downtown Naperville near the 5th Avenue Metra station.
    Courtesy of Rosanova & Whitaker

 
 

A reinvention of an area near Naperville's Metra station moved forward with plans for a retail and apartment building to be built on a vacant lot on North Washington Street.

The lot, at 720 N. Washington St., is amid a dentist, dry cleaners, truck rental shop, mortgage company and some houses.

Called The Washington, the three-story building will contain 6,600 square feet of retail space on the ground level and eight apartments above. It received the go-ahead from the city council.

The parcel is two blocks north of 5th Avenue Metra station, an area the city aims to reinvent by entertaining several redevelopment proposals from developers.

Designs for the retail and apartment building also call for one of the first sidewalk layouts that will match the city's new downtown streetscape standards, with planter boxes, decorative lighting and a wider concrete walkway lined by a narrow section of brick.

It all adds up to what officials are calling a predecessor to what they hope will be a larger revitalization of several city-owned lots near the train station.

"This is a key gateway to our downtown area," said Vince Rosanova, the attorney who represented the project.

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico recused himself from discussion of The Washington, saying he is a part owner. Chirico's business, Great Western Flooring, intends to open a design center in 4,300 square feet of the first-floor retail, leaving the rest of the space open to other tenants, Rosanova said.

In Chirico's absence, eight council members unanimously approved deviations from city code that are required to build The Washington.

Developers got the OK to include 23 parking spaces for retail uses, accessible off Washington Street, and 13 spaces for apartment residents, accessible from an alley on the east side of the lot, instead of 30 spots for retail and 18 for residential. They also were allowed to locate the building closer to Washington Street than typically is permissible by roughly 25 feet.

While plans for The Washington now are progressing, the city council is continuing its review of ideas to improve sites near the train station, including four parking lots, a water tower and former public works facility, a small business building and the DuPage Children's Museum property.

The council has a workshop set for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28 in the municipal center at 400 S. Eagle St. to discuss 5th Avenue area redevelopment ideas.

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