New baseline plans coming for Naperville's 5th Avenue corridor

  • Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico says he wants the redevelopment of 13 city-owned acres along 5th Avenue near the Naperville Metra station to "provide as many good things for the community" as possible.

    Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico says he wants the redevelopment of 13 city-owned acres along 5th Avenue near the Naperville Metra station to "provide as many good things for the community" as possible. Daily Herald file photo March 2017

Updated 8/2/2019 8:39 AM

The developer chosen nearly two years ago to lead plans for a revamped 5th Avenue corridor near the Naperville Metra station is now starting a second round of designs meant to be a baseline for further discussion.

Ryan Companies got the go-ahead last month to work on a new concept that will combine elements of the two plans it released last August for 13 acres of city-owned land, including several parking lots, the site of a now-demolished public works building and the DuPage Children's Museum property.


The plans are expected to include details on train station access, parking, infrastructure and a cost estimate to build public, city-funded features and private buildings.

The public is set to get its first look at the new plans during a meeting of the 5th Avenue Steering Committee at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.

After a 10-month pause to make decisions about the children's museum location and include extra commuter parking, the designs Ryan Companies are creating will keep the museum in place at 301 N. Washington St. and add 250 to 400 new commuter parking spots, the developer said in a weekly update email.

Some of that new parking could be planned in a potential garage south of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks on the museum property.

Mayor Steve Chirico said during a July workshop that museum leaders are open to building a garage on land they lease from the city. And council member Paul Hinterlong said it would help to add as much parking as possible south of the tracks because the majority of rush-hour commuters arrive from south of the station.

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During the workshop, council members also directed Ryan Companies to include a pedestrian underpass in the next round of plans, potentially along the lines of the "cow tunnel" under the tracks at Webster Street. The idea drew some neighbor support when it was proposed in 2017, but backers decided it should be considered in conjunction with 5th Avenue plans.

When it comes to land uses that could be included in the project -- apartments, housing meeting the state definition of "affordable," condos, brownstones, $1 million residential units, offices, retail shops, restaurants, green space, stormwater solutions, parking garages -- city council members effectively said they want all of the above.

"The majority of the city council stated that none of the listed land uses should be excluded as possibilities for the development," Ryan Companies said in its project update.

Chirico said it would be easier to subtract features later if they're too costly or undesirable than it would be to add new things once a basic schematic is in place.


"When we say we want everything, we want to see what it looks like," he said. "Then we can price this all out and find out ... how many of these amenities can this development afford to support."

Ryan Companies plans to present the new baseline design to the city council Oct. 1 after the Sept. 19 public presentation and another steering committee meeting on the topic Sept. 23. Chirico said he's looking forward to learning what can be built without raising property taxes to cover city costs.

"I'd like this to provide as many good things for the community, the neighbors, the commuters, the business district -- everyone," Chirico said. "I'd like them to get as much good out of this as we can afford."

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