NORTH CENTER — A developer is going back to the drawing board after an alderman and neighbors rejected a plan to build condos at the site of Chicago Joe’s.
Developer Landrosh Development wanted to build an upscale condo complex at the 2250 W. Irving Park Road property, which currently includes a restaurant, six apartments and a parking lot across four city lots.
The developer’s plans included a 53-foot-tall building to replace the restaurant. The building would have featured duplexes on the ground floor and 16 parking spaces, two per unit.
Condos would’ve sold for about $1.1 million, according to the proposal.
The Northcenter Neighborhood Association and the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce declined to support the proposal due to the lack of commercial space, affordable housing and residential density to support local businesses.
“The location has been home to a business for many years and neighbors were also worried about setting an undesirable precedent of no commercial and not enough density,” said Josh Mark, Martin’s director of development and infrastructure.
Ald. Matt Martin (47th) announced his rejection of the plan on social media Friday.
“We need to evaluate the ‘as is’ opportunities that are available at the property right now to figure out what our next steps are,” said Patrick Landrosh, president of the firm.
In his rejection letter Martin cited the recent 47th Ward Irving Park Visioning process where neighbors highlighted their desire to foster a stronger commercial environment along Irving Park Road and the Northcenter Chamber’s 2019 plan to add residential density to support local businesses.
The spot could potentially include many more residential units, which neighbors say would help nearby businesses that have suffered throughout the pandemic.
“The proposal to build a fully-residential building with fewer than half the units allowed under the current zoning would not have accomplished this goal. Nor were these shortcomings offset by the developer’s suggestion to add one smaller affordable unit,” Martin said in the letter.
Chicago Joe’s owners put the building up for sale two years ago, saying they were ready to move on with their lives, realtor Nicholas Jakubco previously told Block Club. The restaurant shut down indefinitely in late October because of statewide restrictions on indoor dining.
Jakubco was not immediately available for comment.
A fixture in North Center since 1988, Chicago Joe’s founders Chuck Kowalski and Al Rompza opened the restaurant to celebrate the idea of a “regular Joe,” incorporating vintage advertisements for the Chicago Daily News, seats from Comiskey Park and boxing gloves into the restaurant’s decor. The restaurant was known for its burgers and friendly atmosphere.
The menus were designed to look like the front page of an old Chicago Tribune, and the food follows suit: Appetizers were listed under the “First Edition,” burgers in the “Burger Art Museum,” and the “Final Edition” section featured desserts.
This is not the first time the Chicago Joe’s site has been targeted for redevelopment.
In 2014, D+K Architects and zoning attorney Rolando Acosta submitted a zoning application to build a mixed-use building with commercial space on the first floor, four floors of residential with a green roof. That deal later fell through, Acosta said.
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