The latest plan for the Roos building was unveiled to mostly positive reviews at last week’s meeting of the plan commission, and a consultant to the project leaned on public officials to act quickly.
Oak Park architect John Schiess, who is working as a consultant on the project though he is no longer the lead designer, told the commission that the time has come for a decision.
“We’d like to move on,” Schiess said. “We think we have a very good development here. We’ve reduced the number of units. We think we’re there. Frankly we need to move forward. We have bankers waiting on us. We have purchasers waiting on us.”
But commission members and members of the public who attended the Jan. 2 meeting expressed concerns about density and traffic flow. After a public hearing that lasted more than three hours, the plan commission gave architect Victor Dzickiewicz instructions to tweak his proposal and to come back for another meeting on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.
Dzickiewicz unveiled his plans to turn the now vacant Roos building, located at 7329 Harrison St., into a 70-unit condominium building, along with plans to construct 28 townhouses on the property. For Dzickiewicz, this was his first public meeting on the project since being called in to replace Schiess late last year. At the time he made the change, property owner Alex Troyanovsky said two of Dzickiewicz’s chief responsibilities would be decreasing the number of living units and increasing the available parking.
The 70 condos are four fewer than Troyanovsky had initially proposed, and the number of townhouses has been reduced by two. Overall, there are 12 additional parking spaces when compared to the plans presented in mid-2006.
“Everything is almost there,” plan commission member Bill Kirchner said. “It’s almost 98 percent there. I think we need to figure out how to make this a perfect development.”
Kirchner served as chairman of the meeting in the absence of Steve Bitter.
But while Kirchner and commission member Tim Condon seemed comfortable with the density of the development, fellow commissioners Lois Bugajsky and Marty Tellalian expressed reservations.
“I like what you’re doing, but I think you need to knock off a few units” Bugajsky said.
Tellalian also had concerns with the density of the proposal.
“I still feel the density is too high,” Tellalian said. “I would rather not have the town homes. This project is still more than 50 percent overdeveloped. I think there are too many units.”
Concerns were also raised with respect to a vehicle exit onto Harrison Street that would be a right-turn only.
The proposal calls for 2,300-square feet of retail space on the first floor of the building. There would be 30 condos each on the second and third floors of the now vacant factory building. The loft style condos would have exposed brick walls, wood floors, and exposed ceilings. A recessed fourth floor would be added to the building and would contain 10 penthouse units. The fourth floor would be recessed by 16 feet and be 14 feet higher than the existing roof of the building.
The 28 two- and three-bedroom town homes would be clustered around the property and would face west toward Hannah Avenue.
There would be 65 indoor parking spaces and 89 outdoor parking spaces. Each condo owner would be entitled to one parking space while the town home owners would receive two spaces each. The parking falls short of the village’s requirement of two spaces per unit, but developers said that since the property is close to public transportation the parking should be adequate.
Every person who spoke at the hearing praised the aesthetics of the plan and said that it was by far the best proposal for the property they had seen.
Paul Barbahen, who has lived on Hannah Avenue for 22 years, said he was hopeful this proposal would finally rehab the Roos.
“We’re tired of looking at a boarded up, empty, unused building,” Barbahen said. “It’s an eyesore. I think this is really nice. I think this is a great project and I hope it really goes through.”
The property is a Planned Unit Development (PUD), and will not go before the zoning board. The proposal is considered as a whole and voted up or down.
After the plan commission votes, the matter will go to the village council, which has the power to accept of reject the proposal.