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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

2 Apartment Buildings Proposed For Happy Wash Retail Strip On Uptown’s Wilson Avenue

Developers Ayman Khalil and Kareem Musawwir are asking to build to the property line, without a rear or front property-line setback, drawing criticism from neighbors.

A developer is planning to replace a single-story retail strip on Wilson Avenue with a 20-unit apartment building.
Courtesy 46th Ward Office
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UPTOWN — A development team wants to replace a retail strip and parking lot along Wilson Avenue with a two-building development totaling 34 units, the second time a developer has recently tried to build on the site.

Developers Ayman Khalil and Kareem Musawwir want to tear down the building at 1359 W. Wilson Ave. and replace it with two buildings: a five-story, 30-unit complex and a three-story building on Dover Street, according to plans made public by the office of Ald. James Cappleman (46th).

Plans call for the five-story brick building to rise from the corner of Wilson Avenue and Dover Street, with a ground floor parking lot with 30 spaces. Eight of the 30 apartments will be 300-square-foot “efficiency” units.

A three-story building with four units would go up south of the main building on what’s currently a parking lot at 4551 N. Dover St. It would include two-bedroom units, with a garden unit, plus four rear parking spaces.

Credit: Courtesy 46th Ward Office
A developer’s proposal for the corner of Wilson Avenue and Dover Street includes a three-story building on Dover.

The development could be built under the property’s current zoning, but the developer is asking the city to allow the project to be built to the property line, without a rear or front property-line setback.

Zoning rules require a 7-and-a-half-foot setback along Wilson Avenue and a 30-foot setback from the rear of the property.

The development team will hold a meeting with neighbors, though the project does not need local approval, said Tressa Feher, Cappleman’s chief of staff. Because it is only seeking a zoning variance and not a rezoning, the request goes to the Zoning Board of Appeals and not the City Council.

Still, some neighbors in the Sheridan Park Historic District and the Dover Street Landmark District think the project is out of scale with the surrounding area. That is especially true of Dover Street, where properties have setbacks and front lawns, said Scott Adams, president of the Dover Street Neighbors Association.

“Those are outliers,” he said of the proposed buildings.

Developers Khalil and Musawwir control Inverbrass Funds, according to reports. An entity tied to the developers bought the retail strip and parking lot at 1359 W. Wilson Ave. in August for nearly $2 million, records show.

Inverbrass could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The investment group is the second developer to try to build at Wilson Avenue and Dover Street as Uptown continues to see a development boom.

In late 2019, developer Jody Libman sought to buy and replace the retail strip with a four-story, 40-unit building that had a garden level.

Credit: Ald. James Cappleman’s office.
A previous development proposal for the corner of Wilson Avenue and Dover Street.

Libman’s development required a zoning change. That request was rejected by the Dover Street Neighbors Association, according to Uptown Update, and Libman decided to forgo efforts to redevelop the site.

The previous development included a required four affordable units because it sought a zoning change. Because no zoning change is required for the new proposal, it does not need to include affordable units.

The existing building at 1359 W. Wilson Ave. — known to neighbors as the Happy Wash building — is home to The Mukase African Restaurant.

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
The development would replace the single-story retail strip at 1359 W. Wilson Ave.

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