Villa Park postpones decision on mixed-use apartment building

  • Villa Park trustees tabled a vote last week on the proposed high-end Garden Station apartment building, which Hawthorne Development Corp. hopes to build northwest of the Metra station. The developer will meet with area residents for a question-and-answer session on June 8.

    Villa Park trustees tabled a vote last week on the proposed high-end Garden Station apartment building, which Hawthorne Development Corp. hopes to build northwest of the Metra station. The developer will meet with area residents for a question-and-answer session on June 8. Courtesy of Hawthorne Development Corp.

 
 
Updated 6/1/2021 5:06 PM

Concerns from residents prompted Villa Park trustees last week to delay a vote on whether to allow a mixed-use apartment building proposed for a site northwest of the Villa Park Metra station.

Burr Ridge-based Hawthorne Development Corp. is seeking permission to construct a new 348-unit apartment building that would have street-level space for a restaurant. The development, dubbed Garden Station, would target professionals who commute to work.

 

If approved, Garden Station will rise on 1.69 acres of a block bounded by East Vermont Street on the north, North Beverly Avenue on the east, West Terrace Street to the south, and North Ardmore Avenue to the west.

Some of the property is part of a Villa Park-owned Metra parking lot. But a proposed special-use permit calls for swapping that land with a parcel being acquired by the developer east of Beverly Avenue to become Metra parking.

The proposed site is within the North Ardmore/Vermont Tax Increment Financing District. It previously was rezoned for residential use in 2009 for a different apartment complex that did not come to fruition.

"This is actually a better development," Village President Nick Cuzzone said. "I think it's a more quality construction and a better fit for the area."

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Yet many residents who spoke during the May 24 village board meeting were overwhelmingly negative about the project. Topics raised included increased traffic, potential crime, strains on the water system and the risks of locating such a high-density project near railroad tracks.

"People are concerned about the 24-hours-a-day traffic, which was a pre-pandemic problem," Villa Park resident Reed Goodrich said.

But Hawthorne Development President Ganesan "Dr. Vish" Visvabharathy was on hand to tout his company's condo-quality building plans for Garden Station, with amenities that include in-unit washers and dryers and a swimming pool. He also emphasized efforts to get Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council to make Garden Station energy efficient.

"Quality is paramount for our projects," said Visvabharathy, estimating that a one-bedroom, 700-square-foot unit could be rented in the range of $1,500 to $1,600 per month.

Trustee Kevin Patrick commended the developer for its green building ethos on past and future projects. But Patrick said he would be giving a "no" vote unless area residents were granted a separate question-and-answer session with Hawthorne Development engineers and consultants.

The trustees scheduled that meeting for 6 p.m. June 8 at the village hall, 20 S. Ardmore Ave. A vote on whether the project can go ahead is expected at the next board meeting on June 14.

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