An approximate $120 million redevelopment project for downtown Mount Prospect spearheaded by developer Nicholas & Associates was unveiled to the public Wednesday, Sept. 19 during an open house, which drew close to 100 people.
Some residents were in favor of the plans that call for a mix of housing and retail on seven acres. Others voiced concerns over traffic and impacts on local schools.
Nicholas is looking to redevelop the former Parenti & Raffaelli architectural millwork property and the Maple Street commuter parking lot at the southeast corner of Prospect Avenue and Maple. The proposed development is called Maple Street Lofts.
The development would be built in phases over the next two years. It is expected to generate approximately $25 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) benefit for the village over the life of the Prospect & Main TIF district, which expires in 22 years.
The first phase of work demolished the former Parenti buildings along Prospect Avenue after Parenti relocated to the Kensington Business Center in 2017. Those buildings are gone and the parcels remain vacant today.
Nicholas expects to break ground in the spring and construct an eight-story luxury apartment building consisting of 192 units including studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units at the southeast corner of Maple and Prospect. The studios would be around 600 sq. ft. in size, approximately 760 sq. ft. for the one bedrooms, and an 950 sq. ft. for the two bedrooms.
Monthly rental cost for the studios is expected to start around $1,600 per month; over $2,000 for the one-bedroom units and about $2,350 monthly for the two-bedroom units.
According to Chris Coleman, vice president of development for Wingspan Development Group, a company within Nicholas & Associates, several amenities are planned with the apartment building. There will be a community room, a large demonstration kitchen for residents to host cooking parties, a separate fitness center, yoga studio, “Super Bowl” room where residents can gather in front of a large screen to watch sporting events, along with a 20,000 sq. ft. “sky park” on the second floor that will feature a swimming pool and hot tub, grilling stations, a puppy park and outdoor lounge areas.
Residents in that building will also receive concierge dry cleaning service where they can drop off laundry and have it delivered back to their units, in addition to a washer and dryer inside each apartment.
Coleman said developers anticipate the average age group of residents to be between 25-35 or 45-65.
Approximately 10,000 sq. ft.-15,000 sq. ft of retail space will be situated on the first floor of the building. According to Coleman, developers expect one restaurant to operate at the corner since there will be an open plaza. Other possible complementary uses for residents of the building and area are planned, such as a coffee shop, an ice cream store, and even a bike shop. Those ideas have yet to be determined.
The building, Coleman said, would take about 15-16 months to complete and Nicholas will not begin to pre-lease until 30-60 days prior to first occupancy. He added it will take about 10-15 months to fully occupy the building. The other component of this phase is constructing a three-level parking structure next to the eight-story apartment building.
“We will install a temporary expansion of the Metra parking lot along Lincoln Street,” Coleman said. “The current parking lot is long and narrow and goes south and north. We will expand the southern portion of the lot.”
Currently, 285 commuter spots are available, but with the expansion and eliminating the north part of the lot, only 13 spots will be lost during construction. To offset that, the village will create 100 spots in the parking garage connected to village hall and the library for commuters.
Once the new parking structure is completed, it will provide room for 250 vehicles. The 100 spaces will continue to be provided in the parking garage between the library and village hall.
“This allows residents on the north side the opportunity to park on the north side of the tracks and avoid crossing over the railroad tracks to get to the Maple Street lot,” Coleman said. “The benefit or expectation is, it will be a shorter commute for north side residents and will help alleviate congestion on Emerson and Maple streets.”
Phase 3In the fourth quarter of 2019, Nicholas would begin constructing a seven-story luxury apartment building at Prospect Avenue and Elm Street on the other side of the first apartment building. This development would consist of 65 units including studios, one- and- two-bedrooms with similar square footage and pricing points as the other building.
Fewer amenities would be available in this building, meaning it won’t have a “Super Bowl” room or puppy park as well as any retail on the ground floor. It would contain a common room, a blended community kitchen, gaming room, fitness center and small fitness studio. Coleman said construction would take about 12 months to complete.
He said both apartment buildings would be leased out simultaneously.
Around the same time as construction occurs on the second building, Nicholas would also construct 66 rowhomes containing two to three bedrooms each, and two-car garages ranging from 1,900 sq. ft. to 2,100 sq. ft. at the northeast corner of Maple and Lincoln. Prices would range from the high $300,000s to the low $400,000s.
Coleman said these homes would not include basements, but would feature high-end interior finishes.
According to Coleman, the first residents of the rowhomes would likely begin moving in at the end of 2020.
FinancesOf the $25 million that is expected to be generated by the development over the next two decades, $3 million in TIF money has already been provided to Parenti for relocating; $6 million would be spent to construct the new parking structure and approximately $2 million would be used to offset stormwater management costs such as creating water detention areas. The remaining $14 million would be kept by the village for other development purposes in the TIF district.
Coleman emphasized the entire $120 million project is privately funded by Nicholas, minus the $3 million relocation reimbursement and $2 million for stormwater.
Reaction“People were glad to see this being redeveloped as a non-industrial type or manufacturing use,” Coleman said of the Sept. 19 open house held at Mrs. P & Me restaurant. “Many like having additional retailer and merchant options in the downtown area.”
Negatives he heard dealt with traffic congestion in the area along with impacts on nearby schools.
Resident John Krupa called the proposal “exciting” and said Mount Prospect needs more development in the downtown area.
Resident Christine O’Grady, who lives near the development site, said she is all for redevelopment, but has concerns about morning and afternoon rush hours being congested with traffic, especially if residents living in the apartments have more than one vehicle. She pointed out there are other parts of town that continue to remain vacant. Another issue she touched on was the added student enrollment generated by the development, that would have to be absorbed by Mount Prospect Elementary School Dist. 57.
Fire Chief Brian Lambel stated the eight-story apartment building would stand 105-ft. at its highest. The department’s ladder truck goes as high as 100-ft. If the ladder truck had to access the top floor, the situation could become “tight” due to the additional five feet. Based on his numbers and the age groups expected to move in, Lambel said the development would generate 48 calls per year. With Fire Station 13 moving to a new site on Rand Road, response times would remain within four minutes, he said.
Next StepsA second neighborhood meeting for the project is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10 at another Nicholas & Associates development, Buckingham Place, 750 E. Northwest Hwy., Des Plaines. Coleman said this will give the public a preview of what units would like in the new development in Mount Prospect.
Once all feedback is provided, a formal project submittal to the Mount Prospect Planning & Zoning Commission is expected in November followed by the village board for preliminary approval in December. Final approval by the village board, Coleman anticipates, would occur in January or February.
“It is important for us to be sensitive to comments and concerns of the residents. We know this is an important development in the village and we want to do the right thing,” Coleman said. “The Papanicholas family has been in Mount Prospect for a long time and they are excited about building something wonderful for Mount Prospect and are happy to listen to the concerns and suggestions of the residents to deliver the best project.”
Chris Coleman, VP of Development at Wingspan, periodically shares his thoughts and observations on property development news.