A new apartment and retail development proposed a half-block from the Belmont Avenue CTA station has some residents worried about congestion issues but others happy to see the much needed upgrade.
Joined by Victor Drapszo of Red Architects, Sonco Real Estate’s Jack Koral presented his development proposal to add three new retail spaces and 21 new three- and four-bedroom retail spaces at 3223 N. Sheffield Ave.
“This is very close to the Belmont stop on the CTA,” Koral’s attorney Warren Silver said. “We want to build a pedestrian oriented development. We want people living as close as possible to transit so we don’t have to build as much parking spaces. … It’s creating eyes on the street and a more vibrant neighborhood.”
Residents at the Hawthorne Neighbors Association meeting, however, had mixed reactions about the project. Some argued 11 parking spaces aren’t enough for all the tenants, and residents would still bring cars and additional congestion to the already busy intersection. Others had issues with the developer’s plan to almost double the amount of units from 12 to 21.
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But others found the development to be a nice addition to a street.
“That street could use some quality upgrading in terms of the looks,” said the group’s president, Kevin McIntyre. “…There’s only so much you can do with properties on the tracks. If you’re going to have density, let’s put it on the property next to the CTA tracks because it’ll limit some noise.”
Other Lake View residents agreed with McIntyre, saying that part of Sheffield Avenue could use the beautification points.
“I work right next door, and I think, for what it’s worth, that this is a very attractive addition,” said neighbor Jackie Earley, who is the president of the School Street Playlot Advisory Council. “… I think it’s a lovely addition to the street.”
Drapszo noted the construction will follow Chicago’s Green Home Program to receive its highest rating by using green materials and monitoring energy efficacy.
Neighbors voted in favor of altering the zoning for the site to allow for more residential units to make the project financially viable for Koral. Two residents were opposed to the project and two abstained from voting.