Elmhurst aldermen will spend some time over the next month thinking about the most important elements of any new development at Hahn and York streets. City staff presented a first draft of a request for proposals for the site on Monday, and asked aldermen what they would like to emphasize for those 10 parcels that form a northern gateway to City Centre.
The site in question, bordered by North Avenue, York Road, Addison and Third streets, was part of the downtown tax increment financing district (TIF 1) that was established in 1986, but economic decline stalled development there. The developer formerly under contract with the city, Morningside Group, cut its losses and walked away from the project; the city let Morningside out of its contract last March. The Hahn parcels were then moved into the newly created North York Road TIF, which stretches up to Grand Avenue.
The RFP calls for developers to bring ideas for a residential building with first-floor retail and at least 100 public parking spaces. The city wants to limit the height of the building to four stories, or 45 feet, on the York Road side and three stories, or 35 feet, on the Addison Street side.
Proposals will be evaluated by assigning points to a list of criteria, which is likely to include economic feasibility and how well the project fits into the neighborhood. Aldermen want some criteria to weigh more than others, and they also want to consider adding some as well.
First Ward Alderman Diane Gutenkauf, for example, wants to give extra points to any project that improves the site's ability to handle stormwater. Third Ward Aldermen Dannee Polomsky suggested more emphasis on accessibility beyond what is required by the Americans With Disabilities Act, and 4th Ward Alderman Kevin York said he wanted to see details on how any development would impact local schools.
Fifth Ward Alderman Scott Levin said he wondered how best to evaluate any proposal's architecture, noting that “good” design may not fit with the other buildings in the area.
Assistant City Manager Mike Kopp suggested staff provide detailed descriptions of each criterion, then send a survey to council members asking how they would weigh each item.
The request for proposals will state the city also is open to developer ideas beyond retail and residential uses. Aldermen have said they wanted to see creative uses for the site. But a consultant told them in September, then that the current market conditions make apartments the best option for the parcels.
Residents of Elmhurst: What kind of development would you like to see at Hahn Street? Tell us in the comments.
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