UPTOWN — Plans to replace a historical Uptown home with a six-flat are moving forward eight years after the residence was controversially demolished.
Ald. James Cappleman (46th) is supporting a rezoning request to bring a six-unit building to 4642 N. Magnolia Ave. That’s where a 117-year-old Victorian home was demolished in 2014 after being bought by Finan Development Corp.
Finan sought to replace the fire-damaged home with apartments. But neighbors angry over the demolition organized to oppose the development proposal, leading Cappleman to deny the zoning request.
The lot has sat empty ever since. The Finan family recently revived the proposal that requires a zoning change, gaining needed support from neighbors and Cappleman.
Cappleman said he based his decision on neighbors’ approval and the “overwhelming need for more housing in the 46th Ward which has increasingly become a very popular place for many to call their home.”
“This property has been vacant for several years and the zoning change will allow for six new units on a site that currently has zero,” Cappleman said in a letter to constituents.
The Finans, who own Ravenswood establishment O’Shaughnessy’s Public House, want to build a three-and-a-half story building with six units, six parking spots and a rooftop deck. It is unclear if the units will be rentals or condos.
The building would include two, four-bedroom duplex units and four, two-bedroom units, development documents show.
The Finans bought the development site for $525,000 in early 2014, about 15 years after the home on the property was damaged in a fire. The developers said the home could not be salvaged and sought a demolition permit for the house built in 1896.
Neighbors helped lead a charge to save the historically significant home, saying it could be preserved despite the fire damage. The Finans offered to sell the home to a preservation-minded buyer and also offered to swap the fire-damaged home with a next-door neighbor.
Those efforts failed and the home was eventually demolished. The plan to replace the home, however, stalled after neighbors with the Magnolia-Malden Neighbors Block Club voted 19-0 against granting the developer’s zoning request.
The Finans brought back their proposal this year and the block club again voted to reject it. Neighbors held a second vote after further discussions that ended 58-47 in favor of granting the zoning request, according to a letter the block club sent to Cappleman’s office.
Cappleman signaled his support after the developer answered final questions and requests posed from the block club, which included pleas to reuse the wrought iron fence and rework its trash receptacle storage plans.
The waste plans were updated and the developer said he would seek to reuse the fence, although the front of it will need to be disassembled for construction.
The developer has also placed at the development site samples of bricks that could be used in the building’s facade. Cappleman said he has asked the city’s Department of Planning and Development to select a brick that keeps in character with the Sheridan Park Historic District.
The rezoning request needs final approval from the City Council.
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