Written By Carol Kania Morency
Two developers on Monday offered their vision for the downtown Elmhurst parcels known as the Hahn Street development.
Morningside Group and Jupiter Realty both pitched ideas for rental units on the 10-parcel area facing Hahn and Addison, with York Road-facing retail. While Morningside's design creates a row house-like façade, Jupiter envisions a more contemporary look for this northern gateway.
Morningside was under contract in 2008 to develop the Hahn property, bordered by North Avenue, York Road, Addison Avenue and Third Street, but that agreement ended in March 2012. Morningside's Melissa Pittman emphasized that the group terminated their original agreement “because of the deteriorating condominium market and nothing else.”
Morningside is proposing a project called North District, which would include a four-story building with 11,000 square feet of retail and 100 public parking spaces. The retail space would bookend a green space developers envision as a “civic plaza.”
Because aldermen have expressed resistance to rental housing, Morningside's David Strosberg made a special pitch for it.
“I want to change your assumptions about rental housing. It's like living in a luxury resort year-round,” he said.
North District would offer residents 9-foot ceilings, a washer and dryer in each unit and sound-resistant floors and walls. he said.
He added that “tremendous” demand exists for apartments and pointed to Morningside's Wheaton 121 development for an example of “ultra-luxury rentals.”
Strosberg also addressed how current Addison Avenue residents would see the building, noting that it was designed to look more like row homes than the entrance to a multi-family housing. The fourth floor would be set back 125 feet from Addison to give the impression there are only three floors, he added.
Jerry Ong, with Chicago-based Jupiter, said his company has focused on multi-family rental for 12 years. Jupiter's plan calls for 209 units and nine three-story townhomes on Addison Avenue. Jupiter's proposal includes 20,000 square feet of retail and 180 public parking spaces at grade level. Of the retail portion, 5,000 square feet would be a separate area intended for a restaurant.
Jupiter representatives stressed the contemporary design features of the project, including many windows, an emphasis on the corner nearest North and York, and both public and resident open spaces.
Both developers noted the eco-friendly features of their plans, including on-side stormwater detention, permeable pavers and green roof elements on portions of the buildings.
Both companies build to own and manage their developments. Morningside would look for the opportunity to convert the apartments to condos, Jupiter would not.
Representatives from the three other developers vying for the project—Lincoln Property, Buckingham Companies and Banner Apartments—will present their ideas for Hahn Street beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall.
Aldermen will discuss the proposals on Sept. 16, rank them based on a system they developed last year, then narrow the field to two finalists.