Revised plan for the Aldi site presented to WPC

Date: 
03/18/2015
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Looking southeast at the corner of Milwaukee and Leavitt

Centrum Partners revised their design for the Aldi parcel of land at Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Street along The 606 (Bloomingdale Trail) in response to suggestions and comments from both the Wicker Park Committee's (WPC) Preservation and Development Committee (P&D) and the Bucktown Community Organization's Development Committee and members. They presented their proposal for the Centrum 606 to the P&D committee on Tuesday evening, Mar. 17. 

Located on a 59,026 square foot parcel, the proposed approximate 65 foot high building shows 6-stories on the Leavitt elevation but appears to be 5-stories high on Milwaukee, because they have increased the building setback from the sidewalk to 8 feet.

It is to have 100 residential units with an average square footage of 881. The residential unit count by size is: studios - 4; one-bedroom - 52; two-bedroom - 38; and three-bedroom - 6. Their original proposal was for 128 units, with several more studios and no three-bedrooms. 

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Looking north on Milwaukee, the Aldi entrance and parking access can be seen

The layout configuration of the units has changed, putting residential units forming a canopy over the car access to the parking area. The entrance to Aldi would be by that opening along with planters and other details.

By working with Aldi, they were able to gain some additional frontage space along Milwaukee, allowing the creation of a larger 4.500 square foot interior space which they project could house a small restaurant. With the proximity to The 606, they are already talking with prospective local vendors. 

With this change, they added to the detail of the frontage along the street, providing some smaller windows and lighting possibilities to develop some modulation along the street. 

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From the Trail looking southwest, the residential units are seen in the background with the low-rise amenities building and the access to The 606

The amenities space for the tenants was moved closer to the Trail from the original plan and now includes a roof pool, fitness center, party room, an internet café and bathrooms. In response to community feedback, the new plans include an enhanced space on the side of The 606, which would be accessed from the Centrum complex. It includes plantings, some benches and people space. These plans have not been discussed with the Chicago Park District or The 606 team as yet. 

Under the current Affordable Requirements Ordinance, the 100 residential units planned will require the project to have 10 affordable units. However, a newly proposed ordinance revision could change that. Instead of allowing a developer to make a one-time $100,000 per unit buyout of committing to maintain all the required affordable units, the developer would be required to provide 25% of the required number. (Example: 100 units would require 10 affordable units which they could buy out of for $100,000 x 10. Under the new ordinance, a developer would only be able to buy out of 7, maintaining 3 as affordable.) 

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The Centrum team of John McLinden, in front, Graham Palmer, architect Howard Hirsch and Kage Brown

In a discussion about their intent for affordable units, Centrum's John McLinden said that they would do three affordable units, buying out of the other seven. They did get pushback from some P&D committee members. McLinden explained that it was an economic issue for them. He cited the costs of the property, obligations to Aldi and high quality of the project construction dictated that. 

The building will include 62 underground parking spaces for residents and 60 surface spaces, which are required for and by Aldi.

The exterior building materials are to be glass with the banding in white and orange aluminum. The structure is to be steel and pre-cast structures with balconies being pre-cast in white. 

Centrum's zoning request is to go from B3-1 to B3-3, though they are not proposing to go to the maximum density that they could go under that zone. In addition to the complex of rental units, retail and Aldi, there will be two single family homes along Wilmot, which will be zoned differently at RT-4. 

With the property currently owned by Aldi, the sale of the property to Centrum Partners is conditional on their meeting several requirements including a new Aldi building and the surface parking spaces. Ideally, Centrum is planning on construction beginning in the fall with move-ins beginning 10 to 12 months later. 

Prior to Tuesday's meeting, Graham Palmer, Partner, Centrum Partners, expressed their excitement about the project. "It is located in a great neighborhood and adjacent to what we believe will be a new iconic amenity in Chicago [The 606]." 

During the Committee's discussion, concerns were expressed about the building's height and density as well as about the number of affordable units.

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Comments

I am a huge supporter of what

I am a huge supporter of what Centrum is doing in this neighborhood. Very excited for this project!

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