Developer pitches 39 apartments near Naperville train station

  • This car mechanic's shop along 4th Avenue in Naperville could be razed to make way for a 39-unit apartment building at 4th and Ellsworth Street.

      This car mechanic's shop along 4th Avenue in Naperville could be razed to make way for a 39-unit apartment building at 4th and Ellsworth Street. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • This land along Ellsworth Street east of Burlington Square Park and south of the 5th Avenue Metra station in Naperville could be the site of a 39-unit apartment building, pending city council approval.

      This land along Ellsworth Street east of Burlington Square Park and south of the 5th Avenue Metra station in Naperville could be the site of a 39-unit apartment building, pending city council approval. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • A 39-unit apartment building steps south of the 5th Avenue Metra Station in Naperville could be built on five lots including two vacant spaces, this car mechanic's shop and two houses. The building gained the recommendation of the planning and zoning commission, but needs final approval from the city council.

      A 39-unit apartment building steps south of the 5th Avenue Metra Station in Naperville could be built on five lots including two vacant spaces, this car mechanic's shop and two houses. The building gained the recommendation of the planning and zoning commission, but needs final approval from the city council. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/20/2016 4:02 PM

A block-long apartment building could be coming to a corner steps away from the 5th Avenue Metra station in Naperville, where neighbors say development is overdue and demand for rental housing is strong.

Planning and zoning commission members unanimously approved plans for a 39-unit building that would replace a mechanic's shop, two houses described as "dilapidated" and two vacant lots at 4th Avenue and Ellsworth Street, south of the Metra station and east of Burlington Square Park.

 

"Adding this type of development near a train station makes very good sense," Commissioner Sean Hastings said.

Vince Rosanova, an attorney representing the project, said the building has been under design for a year, guided by a land-use study of the 5th Avenue area the city completed in 2009.

The study says development should be no taller than 43 feet, so the proposed four-story apartment building is 43 feet tall. The study says the property should transition between the high-traffic train station and the quieter residential neighborhood, so the apartments offer a middle ground, Rosanova said.

"This provides us with an excellent canvas to construct an upscale multifamily development in proximity to mass transit," he said.

Designs call for the building to be 305 feet long, stretching the entire block along Ellsworth from 4th Avenue to North Avenue. Inside would be 15 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom units to be rented as apartments and possibly converted to condos.

"It's been a very stagnant neighborhood both north and south of the tracks," said Mark Johnson, who lives slightly east of the project site at 221 North Ave. "We've talked about doing lots of things, but nothing's happened. This is an impetus to get started."

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The proposal meets standards for building materials and landscaping, but provides less parking than required by zoning code and would be built closer to Ellsworth Street than typically is allowed.

Planning and zoning commissioners said they didn't see any issue with the variances.

"It's well thought-out and appears to address all the issues," Commissioner Robert Hajek said. "The pent-up demand for this project is big."

The city requires two parking spaces for each unit, no matter the number of bedrooms, so 78 spaces would be needed to meet the code. The proposal provides 69 spots with 43 indoors behind garage doors on the ground floor.

"We feel this parking alone is going to be sufficient for the entire development with each unit being assigned at least one indoor parking space," Rosanova said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

While the developer is seeking to build closer to Ellsworth Street than allowed by code, the building still would be about 25 feet from the road, separated by an 8-foot-wide sidewalk to accommodate people walking to the train station, a small front yard, planter boxes and a parkway.

"I think it's very attractive," Commissioner Tim Messer said. "It'll be a significant improvement for the neighborhood."

The plan now will be considered by the city council.

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