Naperville council to consider self-storage facility as part of Market Meadows redevelopment
The construction of a self-storage facility is the focus of a developer's plan to revitalize a Naperville shopping center, sparking concerns among nearby residents that the use is incompatible with surrounding properties.
The Shorewood Development Group is under contract to purchase the Market Meadows Shopping Center at Naper Boulevard and 75th Street, where vacancy rates have grown and infrastructure has been deteriorating for years, attorney Vince Rosanova said.
Plans to redevelop the retail hub, anchored by Jewel-Osco, include constructing a new multi-tenant outlot building, completing architectural and engineering upgrades, reconfiguring the parking lot and improving pedestrian access. To support the nearly $50 million project, he said, developers have proposed transforming an antiquated courtyard with "challenging retail space" into a self-storage business, operated by Northfield-based The Lock Up.
"These undertakings would certainly mark a significant investment in our community," Rosanova said. "Shorewood believes they are necessary to protect existing tenants, as well as attract new tenants."
The development plans were unanimously supported last week by the planning and zoning commission, despite written and verbal opposition from neighbors in the adjacent Hobson Oaks townhouses. Many were concerned with the noise, traffic, safety and size of the storage facility, though project leaders said its impact on residents would be minimal.
Shorewood's proposal now goes to the city council for consideration Feb. 16.
On Tuesday, Naperville's elected leaders are expected to vote on a zoning amendment that would allow petitioners to request deviations for certain uses in a planned unit development. The measure would ultimately permit a self-storage component within Market Meadows, pending special approval by council, without having broader implications on the B2 community shopping center zoning district, said Allison Laff, the city's deputy director of transportation, engineering and development.
In initial discussions last month, council members agreed self-storage facilities are not typically ideal for visually prominent retail-centric properties, but several said the use makes sense as proposed for Market Meadows. Rather than allowing the businesses as a conditional use in the B2 district, some elected officials directed staff members to find a workaround that would avoid setting a precedent for other projects down the road.
In a letter to the council this week, Hobson Oaks resident Randolph Given questioned the legality of "use deviations," saying they show favoritism toward a specific property owner and disregard surrounding uses. Naperville staff members said Wednesday they are reviewing the letter.
"The issue is not redeveloping Market Meadows," homeowners association President Roger Brown told the Daily Herald. "The issue is the complete incompatibility of what they want to put in."
Planning and zoning Chairman Bruce Hanson said he was initially uncomfortable with the "use deviation" concept but has since acknowledged it could be useful in "exceptional situations," such as the Market Meadows project.
The storage facility would have a 35-foot-wide frontage but would otherwise be hidden behind other retailers, representatives said. The secure drive-in bays could be accessed from the back of the shopping center from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
"This entire shopping center is in desperate need of a facelift," Hanson said. "I want us to be very, very selective about things like storage units in a B2 district ... but I think in this case, it's well done and well designed."