A substantial reduction to the Lincoln Park Hospital site redevelopment plan was unanimously approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in a compromise reached between Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), residents, and the developer.
Smith said she approves of this new agreement because of its “overall effort to reduce the intensity of the use on site.”
The new alderman won support in this year’s elections largely because of her opposition to the developer’s original plans, which were approved by Vi Daley before she left office.
Originally, Sandz Development Company planned to build 40 condominium homes on Grant Place. The new development plan has reduced that number to eight single-family homes, which must be individually brought to the plan commission for approval.
Aside from the The Fresh Market on Lincoln and Webster avenues, the plan bars any further retail use. Loading on Webster, a residential street, will be restricted and a new loading zone created on Lincoln Avenue.
The plan also reduces the amount of office space in the Geneva Terrace building on the old hospital campus, replacing it with some 75 apartments that will include parking spaces in their rents.
Smith said that the scaled back development plan mean that there will be “100 extra spaces” available for public parking in the area.
The commission’s approval seemingly wraps up months of disputes with developers. Martin Oberman, a former 43rd ward alderman and attorney, filed a suit with the city on behalf of community residents challenging the site’s rezoning. In the meantime, Smith moved to block development by introducing a zoning change.
Smith said that the final plan had passed community and settlement agreements.
“I believe that we are done,” the alderman told the plan commission amidst congratulations.
Still, some residents continue to have reservations.
“I am concerned about the unloading of 55-foot trucks on Lincoln Avenue because of the potential conflicts with the UPS and FEDEX trucks as well as soft drink and other front of the store deliveries,” said Allan Mellis, a Lincoln Park Community leader. He spoke in support of the plan changes at the meeting, although he raised concern over whether the units would include affordable housing for seniors.
Bonnie Shapiro, an interior designer and Lincoln Park resident of 25 years told the commission she still objects to the development. She said the height changes, specifically the two additional stories on the Grant Street building across from her residence, will cause problems.
The changes will give “birds’ eye views of everything in our homes,” she said outside the meeting.
The intersection of Larrabee Street, Geneva Terrace, and Webster and Lincoln avenues is a busy place where delivery trucks, CTA buses, school buses, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all cross paths and small businesses and homes are within walking distance of each other.
Bacino’s restaurant, less than a block from the development receives its shipments through their front entrance on Lincoln.
The plan’s new loading zone “shouldn’t be a problem,” said server Ozzie Lopez. He said that patrons can park nearby at Oz Park, which is free, or use the meters on Lincoln.