UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — An apartment building proposed for a vacant lot at the corner of Grand and Western avenues will now include double the amount of parking spots than originally planned after pushback from neighbors last month.
RDM Companies is seeking a zoning change to construct the building at 2405 W. Grand Ave., which will still feature ground floor retail and 40 apartments on upper floors.
But the development will now have 12 parking spaces instead of the six included in original plans, after a few neighbors raised concerns last month that more were needed to avoid congestion on surrounding streets.
A transit-oriented development (TOD), 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.
Because of the site’s TOD status, RDM Companies Vice President Jim Panella said the building will attract renters who use public transit and don’t own cars.
“People who are looking at this, when they know that there’s not parking and they drive around and see that parking is going to be rough, they’re not going to rent it. We see it in all other projects as well. It’s kind of like, if you build it they’ll come,” Panella said at a sparsely-attended community meeting Wednesday.
The new parking spots will eat into the building’s ground floor retail. Plans for the project now include 4,820 square feet of retail space, down from about 6,100 square feet outlined in original plans.
The five-story building will have a mix of apartment sizes, ranging from studios to three bedrooms. The 12-spot parking lot will be accessible from an alley behind the property.
The building is the second development proposed in recent months for the long-vacant lot at the southwest corner of Grand and Western.
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.
Neighbor Scott McKenna, who lives a few doors down from the lot, organized a petition against the gas station, which received more than 200 signatures. After a contentious community meeting in December, the developer backed out and the site has sat vacant since.
Last month, McKenna said he was generally supportive of the apartment proposal, but shared concerns about possible parking congestion.
After seeing updated plans at Wednesday’s meeting, he called it a “decent compromise.”
“It seems that they’ve more or less addressed a good part of what the community asked for originally,” McKenna said. “It’s a vacant lot, it’s ugly, and it is what it is. So obviously, anything there will foster development in the neighborhood, obviously increase the tax revenue for the area as well, provide a couple of jobs probably.”
Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said he’s supportive of the project, and will work with a few neighbors who continue to express concerns about parking and other issues.
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