Naperville tables CityGate West vote over 'disconnect' between developer, community leaders

  • A $200 million mixed-use campus proposed in northwest Naperville was tabled by council members, who say developers need to work out a compromise and mend relationships with opponents of the project.

    A $200 million mixed-use campus proposed in northwest Naperville was tabled by council members, who say developers need to work out a compromise and mend relationships with opponents of the project. Courtesy of CityGate West

 
 
Updated 2/3/2021 8:21 PM

CityGate West developers say they're on the cusp of bringing to life their vision for the $200 million mixed-use campus, designed as an art-inspired destination at Naperville's northwest gateway.

But council members weren't ready to move the project forward Tuesday, saying there's too great of a divide between the petitioner's proposal and the desires of city staff members, local school leaders and other community partners.

 

Inter-Continental Real Estate and Development representatives were directed to return to the drawing board and try to address concerns related to a construction timeline, a limited-service hotel, a slew of requested zoning deviations and an objection from Indian Prairie Unit District 204. Options also are being explored to incorporate attainable housing into the site's residential component.

The discussion was tabled until at least March 2, when council members hope to see a revised plan with more widespread support.

"I do hope we're going to find a path to get there and get something like this built," Councilman Patrick Kelly said. "But my concern is, right now, it just seems like there's so much of a disconnect between some of our most important stakeholders that are usually ... aligning on developments like this."

Proposed near the interchange of Route 59 and I-88, CityGate West has been touted as a "live, work, play" campus blending entertainment, shops, homes, dining, recreation, offices and hospitality, attorney Michael Roth said. The project is a longtime vision of the Halikias family, who run Inter-Continental and purchased the 100-acre site more than two decades ago, he said.

On the roughly 60 acres that remain undeveloped, project leaders have proposed seven restaurant sites, two commercial buildings, 19 acres of open space, a medical office structure, two hotels, and two mixed-use buildings with retail, parking and 410 total apartments.

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The existing Topgolf and WhirlyBall game centers are integral to those plans, Roth said, as is the shuttered Odyssey Fun World, which would be transformed into an event space and entertainment venue.

The planning and zoning commission in December supported preliminary development plans for CityGate West, along with a request to rezone the industrial site to an office, commercial and institutional district. But the panel's backing was contingent on a set of requirements, including a more detailed phasing plan to ensure the development is constructed and maintained as a mixed-use campus.

Commissioners also rejected plans for one hotel that Naperville officials said does not qualify as full-service. Developers have argued requirements related to building size, an on-site restaurant and a banquet facility are satisfied by other nearby uses.

As of last week, Inter-Continental had not adjusted its plans in response to either issue, prompting city staff members to recommend denial of the petition, according to a memo from the transportation, engineering and development department.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Addressing the council Tuesday, Roth said developers are committed to building CityGate West in its entirety, but the COVID-19 crisis has led to uncertainty surrounding the order and timeline in which each component could be completed.

Council members largely favored the CityGate West concept but said a project of that magnitude requires compromise and assurances from the petitioner.

Project leaders have looked at alternative proposals that would add more affordable micro-efficiency residential units and potentially alter other sections of the campus, Roth said. They intend to continue discussions with city planners.

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