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Proposed Self-Storage Project Moves Forward in Niles, IL


Update 9/11/17 – Adams French Property received zoning approval last month to move forward with its mixed-use development in Niles, Ill. Expected to open in about a year, the project will cost $8 million to $9 million and comprise 90,000 square feet of climate-controlled storage, according to the source.

Residents opposed to the project expressed their concerns about increased crime and decreased property values during the Aug. 22 village-board meeting. “This is a bad idea from a [village] branding perspective,” voiced resident Georgia Logothetis, who said she moved into the neighborhood to be close to schools, the police station and the library.

Dean Strzelecki, former chief of the Niles Police Department and a village trustee, noted that other storage facilities in the area haven’t had problems with crime.

Developer Phil French purchased the vacant site at Jarvis Avenue near Milwaukee Avenue in 1985. It previously housed a dry-cleaning business, dating back to the 1920s, that left the land contaminated. Although the pollution was cleaned up in 2000, the developer’s attempt to “identify and secure non-commercial options for the site have proven fruitless,” according to a memo to village officials.

Prior to the vote, Niles Village Trustee Joe LoVerde noted the vacant property isn’t generating any tax revenue for the village. “I’m trying to represent the citizens and their wallets,” he said.

As part of the approval, the storage facility will be required to include 6-foot shrubs around the property. If the business offers truck-rental services, the vehicles must be operated offsite, the source reported.

7/25/17 – Indianapolis-based self-storage developer Adams French Properties LLC (AFP) intends to build a four-story mixed-use facility in Niles, Ill. The structure at 7421 Waukegan Road would be 50 feet tall, with the top three floors dedicated to storage and the ground floor featuring office and retail space that could serve as a business incubator, according to the source. The planning and zoning board voted 6-1 on July 10 to approve several zoning variances. It also recommended approval to change the zoning from residential to manufacturing on four adjoining parcels as well as two special-use permits for self-storage and parking.

The variances were necessary to minimize the gap between the building and the sidewalks along Niles Terrace and Waukegan Road. The three smaller parcels also targeted for rezoning would house a parking lot and retention pond, the source reported. The planning and zoning board has full authority to approve the variances, but the zoning changes and special-use permits must be approved by the board of trustees.

Though all the parcels have been zoned for residential use for the last 10 years, they were originally zoned for manufacturing. Residential proposals that have come before the board in the last decade required too much density for approval, according to Charles Ostman, director of community development.

The project has drawn opposition from residents who voiced concerns during the meeting about an increase in noise and other negative impacts on the area. Some expressed a desire to have a residential development that would be better suited for the community. “Personally, I would rather see it as a vacant lot than [self-storage],” resident Jeremy Foszcz told the board. “I hope to see condos or townhouses or something go up instead.”

Some residents also raised concern over what other manufacturing uses would be allowed under the zoning change should the self-storage project ultimately not be built or if the business failed.

Jim Adams, owner of AFP, told the board Niles is underserved for self-storage, with no facilities within a three-mile radius. He expects 75 percent of tenants will be residents and argued the location will assist startup businesses that don’t have offices in addition to providing space for inventory and delivery-acceptance services.

“We’ve been, for many years, [building] top-of-the-class storage facilities,” Adams told the board. “We’d like to say good communities have good facilities.”

Under its proposal, AFP would update the sidewalks and alley at the rear of the parcels, and redirect water toward Waukegan Road and away from lots to the east, the source reported.

The board of trustees is expected to review the project during its July 25 meeting.


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