Developers plan to renovate an vacant spring factory in Ravenswood into a 19-unit apartment building. Credit: Google Maps

RAVENSWOOD — A dormant factory that’s sat vacant in Ravenswood for almost a decade could soon become an apartment building.

In a public hearing Tuesday, developers of Hayes Properties shared plans to convert the old spring factory, located in a residential block at 4050 N. Hermitage Ave., into a 19-unit, sustainably-minded apartment building with a green roof.

“Renovating a building is the most sustainable thing that can be done,” architect Foster Dale said during the presentation. “So the greenest move we’re going to make is to save and renovate this wonderful” building.

Plans include three one-bedroom units on the first floor, with the remaining 16 two-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors. Each unit would have its own parking space.

Rent would be $1,700-$2,400 per month, but four of the units would be affordable — up from the two that are required by the city’s affordable housing ordinance.

The developers also plan to remove the building’s fire escape and replace the brick wall in front with something “lighter and friendlier to the streetscape and community.”

Developers said they plan to repair and “spruce up” the building’s exterior while maintaining its original architectural character.

“We’re going to try to restore it to what it looked like in 1920 on its first day,” said Joe Hayes, of Hayes Properties.

Four neighbors spoke during the hearing, all supporting the proposal and praising its sustainability and the developers’ interest in restoring the architecture.

“This is an attractive building that harkens back to the former character of the neighborhood,” said neighbor Jack Lydon. “I very much like that the wall is coming down [to] expose the nice exterior of the building.”

Others said having people back in the building could help get rid of rats and prevent possible crime in its vacant alley.

Developers said the sprig factory has been “practically vacant” for more than a decade. Its last occupant, who lived in a small apartment in the building’s corner, moved out in 2012.

Different developers planned to transform the building into 18 condos in 2017, but neighbors said it would create issues related to parking, construction noise, traffic and affordable housing. Plans for that development fell through.

Josh Mark, director of development and infrastructure for the 47th Ward, said the Zoom meeting was recorded so Ald. Matt Martin, who was in a police reform meeting happening at the same time, could hear everyone’s thoughts before making a decision on the proposal.

Neighbors can still share feedback on the proposal in an online form by the alderman’s office.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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