Proposed Des Plaines development would alter city's downtown

 
 
Updated 5/17/2018 7:26 PM
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  • A rendering shows plans for a seven-floor residential development with 212 apartments proposed at the southeast corner of Ellinwood and Graceland avenues in downtown Des Plaines.

    A rendering shows plans for a seven-floor residential development with 212 apartments proposed at the southeast corner of Ellinwood and Graceland avenues in downtown Des Plaines. Courtesy of Des Plaines

A developer is pushing forward with plans to build a 212-unit apartment building with ground-level storefronts in downtown Des Plaines, despite strong opposition from the city's planning and zoning board.

A joint venture of real estate firms Bayview USA Holdings and Barrington-based Compasspoint Development has proposed the seven-floor building with 10,100 square feet of commercial space at the southeast corner of Ellinwood and Graceland avenues. The development group is betting on the city council's approval after the planning and zoning board voted 5-1 against the project in April.

While the planning and zoning board issues recommendations on projects, aldermen have the final word on whether a development can proceed.

Meanwhile, the city staff has recommended approval of the project, saying the development fits with a comprehensive plan for the city that calls for new housing downtown to help revitalize the area.

Developers also intend to include a swimming pool, a dog spa, 40,000 square feet of outside amenity deck and recreation space, a fitness center, a business center, interior bicycle storage and a residential lounge.

The proposed development would change the complexion of downtown. Developers want to raze buildings on eight properties to make way for the 1.9-acre project. This means several businesses -- including Italian restaurant Via Roma, Starvin' Artist Supply and Custom Picture Framing, Alpine Camera, Gift Depot and Threshold Martial Arts -- would be moved from the site. The post office, Huntington Bank, Mexico Restaurant, Dad's Slot Cars and others would remain.

Much of the concern from planning and zoning board members and nearby business owners revolved around two issues: parking and traffic.

The development includes 409 parking spaces on the first and second levels. However, with about 1.5 parking spaces per residential unit, it falls short of the typically required two parking spaces.

Developers argue the nearby Metra station and Pace bus stops will decrease the need for as many parking spaces. Additionally, 79 parking spaces will be available for public use. Another eight would be added along Ellinwood Avenue.

Business owners also argue the development will add traffic problems to an area already suffering from congestion.

The city council meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, at 1420 Miner St.

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