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Developer Wants To Build 40 Apartments, Retail On Controversial Lot At Grand And Western In Ukrainian Village

Another developer wanted to build a gas station at the site last year, but he canceled the project after overwhelming opposition from neighbors.

The vacant lot where a gas station is proposed to be built near the intersection of Grand and Western avenues in West Town on Oct. 19.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — A developer hopes to build a five-story mixed-use development on a vacant lot along the southern edge of Ukrainian Village — but some neighbors want to see more parking attached to the project before it moves forward.

RDM Companies is seeking a zoning change for the lot at 2405 W. Grand Ave., at the southwest corner of Grand and Western avenues, to construct the building. The site is zoned for manufacturing and is surrounded by an industrial park and residential streets.

The building would include ground-floor retail and 40 apartments on the upper floors, RDM Vice President Jim Panella said in a presentation to neighbors Thursday. The units would range from studios to three-bedroom apartments.

Twenty percent of the development, or eight apartments, would meet the city’s affordable housing requirements, an attorney for the developer said.

The site would also feature six off-street parking spots to serve retail customers and residents.

A transit-oriented development, the project is served by the Western and Grand bus lines, as well as a nearby Metra station. The city allows developers to build less parking at transit-oriented developments than is typically required.

“We see in this area, especially the tenants occupying these spaces … a lot of people nowadays don’t have a car. … [And] you’re so close to the Metra and the bus station, as well. So that’s where we’re following the [transit-oriented development] ordinance for this property,” Panella said.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Cars rush past the intersection of Grand and Western avenues in West Town on Oct. 19, 2021.

But some neighbors pushed back on the proposal, arguing more parking is needed to avoid congestion on side streets they said are already overcrowded with cars.

“Obviously, parking is going to be a massive issue for a 40-unit building,” said neighbor Scott McKenna. “Being close to the Metra station is great if you want to go Downtown or you want to go to Elgin or wherever that one goes. That’s it — you know, this is not the CTA that goes to different parts of the city, right outside our doorstep.”

McKenna said he hopes the developer will add parking spaces, but he mostly supports the building, especially compared to the last proposed development for the site.

In October, neighbors rallied against a gas station a company wanted to build on the site, voicing concerns about the impact on air quality and traffic safety. The lot is two blocks from Smith Park and about four blocks from Mitchell Elementary School.

McKenna organized a petition against the gas station, which received more than 200 signatures. The developer backed out and the site has sat vacant.

At the end of Thursday’s meeting, Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) asked Panella and his team to “go back to the drawing board” for the mixed-use building and to provide an updated plan that includes more parking spaces.

An in-person community meeting is being planned for this spring, Burnett said.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The vacant lot where a gas station is proposed to be built near the intersection of Grand and Western avenues in West Town on Oct. 19, 2021.

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