Retail-Apartment Development Moving Forward Near Boystown IHOP

CHICAGO (CBS) — A proposed retail and apartment complex in Boystown still isn’t sitting well with its neighbors.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, following months of contentious meetings between community members and Ald. Alderman James Cappleman (46th), a plan to build 250 new rental apartments anchored by 46,000 square feet of retail space continues to move forward.

But many neighbors are not happy about it.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

“We are still concerned with the current design and its impact to the neighborhood, including especially the value of units at the Gill Park Co-op. We are in favor of developing the parking lot, but we feel strongly that the current development is still too tall and dense,” said Justin Wescott of Halsted Neighbors.

The proposed development would replace the parking lot on the corner of Halsted Street and Bradley Place in Boystown, next to the International House of Pancakes at 3760 N. Halsted St. that is popularly known as the “Gayhop.”

The parking lot is used by the 24-hour IHOP and the neighboring Faith Tabernacle Church, 3750 N. Halsted St.

Neither the church nor the IHOP would be affected by the construction.

Cappleman’s Web site displays floor plans and artist’s renderings for the development, which have been revised since they were first unveiled last fall.

As originally envisioned, the development would be anchored by commercial space on the ground floor along Halsted Street, and a complex of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments with an entrance at 818 W. Bradley Pl.

The apartments would be arranged in an L-shape around a swimming pool and green roof on the third floor.

The development was designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, the same firm that designed the much-heralded plan to bring a Hyatt Hotel and new office in retail space to the old Harper Court complex in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

Late last month, the East Lake View Neighbors’ Association board voted 9-2 against the plan in its current form. But Cappleman said his ward Zoning and Development Committee is working to move ahead with the development with everyone’s best interests in mind.

“I believe in the process that the Zoning and Development Committee is using. That is something they vetting out with the developer and the planning department and CDOT and the Department of Housing and Economic Development,” Cappleman said.

The area around the planned development is composed primarily of smaller-scale residential and commercial buildings. The northernmost bar on the Boystown gay nightlife strip, the North End, is located directly across the street from the planned development site.

But the area is not without tall, high-density structures. At 810 W. Grace St. directly across from the IHOP is the Gill Park Cooperative, a limited-equity low-income residential tower that rises to a height of 27 stories.

And across Halsted Street just to the south stands the Dakota, a six-story, 56-unit condo building at 3631 N. Halsted St. where neighbors got into a well-publicized fight with the Circuit nightclub next door back in 2004. Although Circuit predated Dakota, some neighbors in the Dakota tried to get the nightclub shut down by voting the precinct dry, on the grounds that the club was generating too much noise. The dry vote petition ultimately failed to make the ballot.

A five-person neighborhood subcommittee voted April 4 to send the proposed 3750 N. Halsted St. Development through the city’s zoning process, which, if approved on May 24, will go to the full City Council for a vote.

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