Yet another Chicago Avenue apartment plan

1822-50 W. Chicago Ave., January 2013 rendering

Revised plans for a vacant stretch of Chicago Avenue would build additional apartments without enclosed parking across from Commercial Park.

Developer Chris Fifield, of Fifield Construction & Realty, proposes 59 apartments and added retail space in a four-story building at 1822-50 W. Chicago Ave. The East Village Association board meets Monday to review the proposal at 6:30pm, a block away from the site at West Town Bakery & Diner, 1916 W. Chicago Ave.

First-floor retail spaces are still planned on either side of a central entrance, topped by three apartment floors. But instead of enclosed parking, the latest drawings from the Pappageorge Haymes Partners architectural firm indicate 58 angle parking spaces and a trash enclosure accessed from the brick-paved Commercial Park alley. Only three parking spaces are reserved for the stores.

Units range from 498 to 1,438 square feet and include 5 studio, 18 1-bedroom, 24 2-bedroom and 12 3-bedroom units. There's no street access to Commercial Park, but Steve Fifield, Chris' father whose Fifield Cos. is a partner in the project, says the front and back of the building will have similar window sizes to overlook the street and the park.

The developers will stay on as landlord, but an earlier plan does not meet their profit expectations, says Steve Fifield. His firm is known as a high-rise builder, including the K2 apartment tower at 365 N. Halsted St.

Steve Fifield says a preschool is a prospective lead tenant and that other storefronts would rent to the likes of a gym or yoga studio, boutique, dry cleaner and restaurant or coffee shop. Chris Irwin of Jameson Real Estate represents the partners.

The EVA board has reviewed multiple versions of the project. The latest in January called for 39 apartments and nine live-work storefronts, with enclosed parking to mitigate alley traffic alongside the playground at 1845 W. Rice St.

Chris Fifield confirmed the unit mix to EVA in April, contradicting a Crain's Chicago Business report of 48 apartments plus retail space. Steve Fifield now tells EVA that construction and lending considerations ruled out two larger concepts.

Parcels in the Chicago Avenue property were considered in 2010 as a Chicago outpost of the Brooklyn Bowl nightclub and in a 2002 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill neighborhood plan as an extension of Commercial Park.

Ald. Proco Joe Moreno encouraged neighborhood groups to acquire the lots, purchased for $2.6 million in April. But a city land swap for the former 13th District police station was rejected and the station house at 938 N. Wood St. was converted to a Cook County Sheriff's warrant office.

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