11-story plan at Pizza Hut site

East Village Association board minutes for Dec. 19, 2011

LaSalle II Magnet School
Before a meeting with Chicago Public Schools administrators, Neal McKnight issued a board statement seeking commitments for 50% of at-large admissions to neighborhood students at LaSalle II, 1148 N. Honore, and for retention of the foreign-language curriculum. The neighborhood quota, negotiated by former Ald. Manny Flores at the school's opening, has yet to be implemented.

Architect Jon Heinert shows designs for 1601 W. Division.

PNC Bank/Pizza Hut site
Four more floors of apartments have been added to plans for the former Pizza Hut property at 1601-15 W. Division St. The 11-story building would rise to 120 feet, compared to 80 feet for the CVS Pharmacy building at 1200 N. Ashland Ave.; rooftop mechanicals for two elevator shafts bring the height to 140 feet.

Wicker Park's Coyote building, the Northwest Tower at 1608 N. Milwaukee Ave., is 12 stories tall; across the Polish Triangle, Noble Square Cooperative at 1165 N. Milwaukee Ave. spans 28 stories. "We feel this site in a way is addressing the Triangle in a more direct way," said developer Rob Buono, noting the contrast with CVS, a former bank building. "We want something iconic."

EVA directors suggested that more window glass and warmer colors would relieve the stark look of staggered gray panels shown in the concept drawings, and would make the apartment tower appear less institutional. Designs will change further as contractors review material choices, Buono noted.

The development would have 110 to 119 studio to 2-bedroom apartments. Parking provisions have not changed, with Wendy's on board to share its lot. The elevator tower's west face might frame a tall billboard: an art project promoting a tenant.

Finished plans likely will be presented to EVA members March 5 before Chicago Plan Commission review. Ald. Proco Joe Moreno will pursue a median prohibiting turns from westbound traffic.

Scott Rappe said the Chicago Department of Transportation is considering a potential kiosk vendor at the Triangle. Buono is interested in contributing to a "significant" Polish Triangle improvement.

Liquor moratorium
EVA will address the Chicago Liquor Control Commission to oppose licenses along Ashland and Damen avenues, where package-goods license moratoriums were lifted without residents' input.

The Chicago Grand Neighbor's Association is concerned about curbside service at Red Apple Convenience Store, 2000 W. Chicago Ave., where no package-goods restrictions were in place. Greg Nagel moved and Tom Tomek seconded a motion to oppose curb service; Nagel withdrew the motion after discussion.

West Town Special Service Area 29
Program manager Katharine Wakem said plans to expand the tax district had been scaled back after review. EVA directors suggested scrapping expansion along predominantly residential Damen Avenue. Greg Nagel asked that the SSA present the revised proposal to EVA members.

Ruxbin Kitchen
The Ruxbin group has withdrawn plans for a package license following suggestions from Rappe that would accommodate a restaurant bar at 851 N. Ashland Ave.

Chicago Avenue pedestrian street
Ald. Moreno plans a public hearing on extending Pedestrian Street rules along Chicago Avenue between Damen Avenue and Wood Street. Neal McKnight will set up a meeting with the owner of 1834-50 W. Chicago Ave., which has been razed; Rappe will circulate a letter on the issue.

13th District police station
Station house closing is postponed while asbestos mitigation delays completion of the replacement facility, Tom Tomek said.

Roots Handmade Pizza/Bleeding Heart Bakery Cafe
EVA members at the Dec. 5 holiday party surveyed the Bleeding Heart rooftop deck at 1924 W. Chicago Ave. Managing partner Scott Weiner has committed to limits on truck traffic.

East Village branding
Wakem and board members compared notes on sign installation vendors and on ways to facilitate communication among neighborhood and business groups.

Jan. 9 meeting
OhSoWe.com founder Chuck Templeton is guest speaker; 7pm at Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott.

Attending at Leona's Restaurant, 1936 W. Augusta: Officers Greg Nagel, Neal McKnight, Kok Keng Goh; directors Aaron Bilton, Scott Rappe, Stephen Rynkiewicz, Tom Tomek; guests Rolando Acosta, Rob Buono, Jon Heinert, Peter Locke, Katharine Wakem. Called to order 6:35 pm, adjourned 8:43 pm.


  1. So after all of EVA's complaining about a bank and the traffic it would cause, we're stuck with a building that is 50% taller than any of its neighbors, has 119 apartment units and no solution for parking? Oh wait -- it's going to share a lot with Wendy's! What could go wrong?

    Count me as one of the people tremendously disappointed by this eyesore of a building. First off, why not create a building that is consistent with the East Village landscape. Yes, the CVS building is tall (though it will pale in comparison to this thing), but no building in the East Village is taller than what, four floors? Five?

    One of the first rules of urban design is that a new structure should be designed consistent with its surroundings. This building is not.

    In addition, this building will cause significantly more traffic than any bank would. It's going to have up to 119 multi-bedroom units?! A significant portion of homeowners, if not most, have vehicles. Where are these people going to park? I know! They'll park in the 204 zone, thus creating more nightmares for streets that are already maxed out on parking.

    And then there's the issue of homeownership. Adding 119 units to the neighborhood is only going to drive existing property values down.

    This project seems like a huge mistake to me, and I hope that as a neighborhood we strongly consider whether we'd welcome a skyscraper.

  2. Oh, and we get a giant billboard, too?


  3. This development is almost perfect for this space in terms of scale and density. In general, Chicago needs denser development close to its transit stops. The area around the Polish Triangle needs 100s of more residences nearby to activate businesses and a space that is a dead zone in largely vibrant wider community.

  4. patbooyah: I think people's main concern in relation to traffic is with cars, not people. This is a "transit oriented development" which means that there is very little parking on the site because the people that live in these *rental* units will not have cars and instead use the bus, el, walk, or bike. Also, this building is not located within the 204 parking zone - which was a concern of mine as well since I live right here.

  5. I agree with a large building, but this is too big. Assuming people will not have cars is not realisic? You can't put it in a lease!

  6. I think EVA should move to have a buiding simlar in size a scope to the CVS. That is what was dicussed in all of our meetings. Is the Board going off track here?

  7. I think BB has it right. The preliminary design of the building embraces the Triangle. We need density at this corner to invigorate the Triangle. No billboard and it is 110 to 119 studio to 2-bedroom apartments not 119 multi-bedroom apartments.

  8. Chicago needs more development like this. Badly. It's high time we are building residences without the (absolutely ludicrous) amount of off-street parking that's the norm. Parking SHOULD be scarce--it's a privilege, not a right. Commuter's travel mode choices need to be nudged in the direction of biking, transit, and walking, and developments like these will promote that. Chicago needs to replace its parking minimums with maximums. SF is doing it. NY is doing it. Lest Chicago becomes even more of the hollowed-out suburban hole it's slowly devolving into, we need to do it too.

  9. This is a great development and wonderful for the neighborhood. Density around public spaces and public transit is great for East Village, great for the CTA and especially great for businesses. I can only hope that this encourages more development of this kind in the area.
    East Village has so much to offer and this building acknowledges this and the fact that people are eager to live there.

    Great news!

  10. I totally agree that more residential dwellings are needed in this area, however, this projected building is too tall and the design is not inline with the surrounding buildings and area, it will be an eyesore. The residential building should be no taller then the CVS building and the style should be less harsh.


The webmaster must approve your comments. Please be neighborly.