Des Plaines OKs townhouses, apartments for vacant industrial site
A long-vacant industrial site on Northwest Highway in Des Plaines will soon be home to new residents in townhouses and apartments after the approval of a $90 million development Monday by the city council.
Mayor Matt Bogusz broke a 4-4 tie vote to change zoning of the 20-acre property from manufacturing to residential and approve a variation to allow the houses to be built on smaller lot sizes than required by code.
The second reading vote Monday night follows a first reading, early preference vote of the same tally taken at a council meeting two weeks before.
Buckingham Properties plans to construct 24 townhouse buildings with 127 units and a five-story apartment building with 270 units on the site of the former Littelfuse property, 800 E. Northwest Hwy. The site has been vacant since Littelfuse, an electrical manufacturer, relocated in 2008.
The developer has said most parties interested in the property wanted to pursue residential development, though some aldermen said they believe the zoning change closes the door to the possibility of a future commercial use.
"With all the discussion about residential, I don't think this property has really been on the open market as much as it could be," said Alderman Mike Charewicz, chairman of the council's community development committee.
Charewicz also said the Littelfuse site would be ideal for an expansion of Pace Suburban Bus' northwest division garage, which is the neighboring property to the east. Charewicz, the city's 8th Ward alderman, opposes Pace's proposed relocation to the former Salvation Army site at Algonquin and Mount Prospect roads.
Pace officials considered the site, but negotiations to buy it fell through.
Opponents of the rezoning also said the development would create traffic problems on busy Northwest Highway because it is only proposed to have three entrance/exit points.
Alderman Dick Sayad, who voted for the rezoning, said there would be more traffic no matter what is developed on the site.
"We've been playing with this thing for years," Sayad said. "It's ridiculous. We want to move forward. It's a good move."
It could take up to 3½ years to build out the entire development, with first townhouses completed by next spring and apartments the following winter.