LINCOLN PARK — A developer that has been trying for years to build apartments on the grounds of a former gas station is coming back to the table a third iteration of the project.
Some neighbors still don’t like it.
Representatives for Tempus Real Estate Group presented their plans for the five-story, mixed-use building during a community meeting Thursday. The development would have 1,721 square feet of retail at ground level and 36 apartments on the remaining four floors. It would replace the empty lot at 2658-2670 N. Lincoln Ave. that used to house the Lincoln Park Gas Station.
The mix of units would include one three-bedroom apartment, 24 two-bedroom apartments and 11 one-bedroom apartments, developers said. The project would have 18 parking spaces behind the building, which residents could access through alleys off of Seminary or Lincoln avenues.
The project qualifies as a transit-oriented development because of its proximity to the Diversey station, allowing for more density and fewer parking spots under a city ordinance.
Public meetings surrounding the project were held in 2017 and 2018, but Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) said the proposals were rejected based on community feedback and concerns.
The previous proposals were for four-story buildings with 45 units and 17 parking spaces in 2017, and 36 units with 19 parking spaces in 2018, according to the plans. But the property was developed all the way to the corner so it covered the entire site, which neighbors previously said would raise traffic safety concerns, Smith said.
The latest version includes a setback on the first floor and more green space so the building doesn’t obstruct people’s views while turning from Seminary Avenue onto Lincoln Avenue.
But neighbors criticized the proposal, claiming it doesn’t have enough parking spaces and the building would be too tall for the area.
“As the neighbor one home away and parking on the street, I don’t feel there is enough parking on the street as is, let alone the possibility of 18-plus more cars plus guests and traffic,” one resident said.
Nick Ftikas, an attorney representing Tempus, said that because the project is a transit-oriented development, it should reduce the need for parking in the area by encouraging residents to take public transportation.
Additionally, Ftikas said the developers would agree to a leasing condition that says tenants cannot apply for guest parking passes from the city. Smith said these agreements have been used with other transit-oriented developments in the ward to make sure the developments don’t increase parking congestion.
Other neighbors argued the building was too tall compared to everything else in the area.
“I wonder how the community is even considering a building taller than all others allowed,” said one neighbor. “It would start to completely ruin views of the skyline in the area and set a dangerous precedent for future development.”
Neighbors also questioned why the development went from four floors in its previous proposals to five stories. Rene Steevensz, the project’s architect, said the overall height was lower in previous designs because the building’s floorplan was more expansive.
Scaling back the square footage to create more green space meant developers needed to add another floor to have enough apartments to finance the project, Ftikas said.
“The financing would not work if we lose a quarter of our units,” Ftikas said.
The full presentation from developers will be posted on Smith’s website.
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: