The residential development planned for the Roos property will have fewer units and less architect John Schiess announced last week.
Four condominiums planned for the ground floor of the existing building at 7329 Harrison St. were eliminated in order to make room for more parking, while two new townhouses were added. The changes bring the total number of units from 102 down to 100. Two townhouses previously planned to be built alongside the existing building at the southwest corner of the property were also moved elsewhere to make room for a newly added parking lot.
“That will be a positive change?it leaves the main faade of the Roos as the primary element of the streetscape,” said Schiess at a presentation organized by the group Citizens United in Forest Park (CUinFP) last Thursday evening at St. Peter’s Church, 500 Hannah Ave.
The changes to the plan were made after a land survey revealed that the original plan for a 90-space main parking area and 74 condominiums in the main building was not feasible. Instead, the building will have 70 units and 72 spaces in its main lot, while the aforementioned new lot will include 14 spaces. Each of the 30 townhouses, which will be constructed at the property alongside the existing building, will come with two parking spaces. There will also be several public spaces on Hannah Ave. alongside the development.
Schiess said the decision to preserve the existing Roos building limits available options for additional parking spaces in comparison to developments built from scratch. The 200-unit Residences at the Grove development, under construction at 7700 Van Buren St., will provide about 1.35 parking spaces per unit in its two condominium buildings. The Roos development, according to Schiess, will have 1.26 spaces per condominium unit. Village code requires two spaces per unit.
“The difference between us and [Residences at the Grove] is that they’re brand new construction. They can set the columns where they need them to be,” said Schiess.
This distinction did little to appease concerns from the audience about parking, with residents expressing concern that the lack of parking would lead to nearby side streets being flooded with cars during special events and holidays.
“I’m hoping all 70 condo owners don’t have Super Bowl Sunday parties,” Schiess responded. He said he hoped parking issues would be minimized due to the development’s proximity to public transportation.
Talks with CTA regarding the possibility of reopening the Circle Avenue entrance to the Harlem Blue Line station have gone smoothly so far, Schiess said.
“I’m hesitant to say ‘yes’ because we don’t have anything in writing, but we’ve encountered almost no resistance,” said Schiess when asked if the entrance would be reopened.
Schiess added that progress has also been made in talks with Nextel and Sprint regarding the possibility of moving the cell towers they currently have on the property. The cell tower issue was the primary factor that stalled previous developer Patrick Wangler’s attempts to build on the property.
“In our initial talks, it seems they’re willing to take the towers off the building for $350,000,” said Schiess. “They’re going to come back to us with a range of possibilities in terms of what to do with the towers.”
Schiess also outlined several recommendations provided by a traffic consultant hired for the project, among them adding a cul-de-sac to the stretch of Hannah Avenue that runs between the development and the park district space next door.
The consultant, according to Schiess, also recommended turning the two unnamed narrow roads that run alongside the Circle Avenue bridge, referred to as Circle Drive East and West, into one-way streets, with Circle Drive East going north and Circle Drive West going south.
A stop sign, along with a “Do Not Enter” sign, were recommended for the intersection of Circle Drive West and Harrison Street, and the turn onto Harrison Street would be made right turn only. The consultant also recommended installing parabolic mirrors so that drivers on Circle Drive and on the Circle bridge are able to see each other before turning.
Schiess said a traffic light for the intersection was considered by the consultant but village staff felt a stop sign would be safer for the intersection.
Schiess is partnering with developer Alex Troyanovsky and the Regency Development Group on the project. Townhouses are expected to start at about $475,000, while condos will range from $250,000 to $750,000 for the largest penthouse. The penthouse units will be added to the top of the existing Roos building but will be set back in order to minimize impact on the streetscape.
The traffic consultant’s recommendations and the parking issues will be among the matters considered by the village during its review of the development proposal, which will begin at the Sept. 5 meeting of the Plan Commission, set for 7 p.m. at village hall, and eventually conclude with a vote by the village council on whether to approve the project.