CITY HALL — Three projects in the booming West Loop — including a condo development that sparked a heated debate and prompted Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) to storm out of a meeting this spring — received key approval from a City Council committee Tuesday.
The city’s Committee on Zoning Tuesday unanimously approved controversial plans for a 79-foot-tall, 25-unit luxury condo building at 123 S. Peoria St. near Mary Bartelme Park. The proposed development has faced opposition from some West Loop neighbors.
The committee also approved plans for a nine-story retail and office building at 1230 W. Washington Blvd. Developers plan to keep the site’s current three-story building, which houses a storage facility at the corner of North Willard Court and Washington Boulevard, and build a glass office building alongside and behind it.
A five-story retail and office building planned for 1108 W. Fulton Ave. was also approved by the committee.
The projects now head to the full City Council for consideration July 24.
Affordable housing trade-off
Despite concerns from residents, Burnett said Zev Salomon of ZSD Corp, the developer behind 123 S. Peoria St., went out of his way to work more affordable housing into the project by setting aside two more units for low- and moderate-income residents than required by city ordinance, accounting for a total of seven units, provided the developer could build the affordable housing units off-site and not as part of the development itself.
Although Burnett said he was willing to accept that trade-off, Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) objected, saying the affordable units should be included as part of the development.
Salomon and architecture firm Sullivan Goulette & Wilson first pitched the brick-and-steel building to residents at a community meeting in April. At the time, some residents said they were concerned that the development would compromise their safety, privacy and deprive surrounding condo buildings of a “light source.”
But Burnett said many of the concerns expressed by residents were because their views would be blocked by the new development.
“I know how all of you … feel. I’ve gotten all of your emails. I know what your concerns are. I hear you. I think it’s very selfish to be quite honest with you,” Burnett told one resident in April.
It would be “unfair” to block the proposed development, he said. The neighbors complaining are quick to forget that the building some of them now live in — at 111. S. Peoria St. — saw significant opposition from neighbors before it was developed, Burnett said.
“I’m treating you like I treated the building next to you. The building next to you was against your building for all the reasons you’re against [this] building,” he said before storming out after a resident asked about if he received campaign contributions from the developer. Firms associated with the project have donated to Burnett’s campaign in the past.
Resident Jeremiah Bickham, who lives in the building next to the proposed condo building, said neighbors’ concerns have “nothing to do with views.” At the time, some neighbors urged the developer to build a smaller retail building on the site instead of a condo building.
“This is about a light source … people always conflate the two and that’s nonsense,” Bickham said.
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