Update 7/20/17 – The 41st Ward's Zoning Advisory Committee unanimously approved Lunn’s self-storage plan for Northwest Highway this week. The developer intends to build an 88,000-square-foot storage facility that will feature climate-controlled units and a drive-through loading dock. The project still requires city-council approval for the zoning change, which will likely be reviewed in September. If approved, construction could begin next spring, Lunn told the committee.
Lunn presented revised renderings of the facility design during Wednesday’s meeting. The new drawings show layered masonry with several windows facing Northwest Highway. "We got some comments that that first design was just a little too contemporary for the location," Lunn told the committee. "It's always difficult to design a building as a group, but I took everyone's comments to the architect, and we ended up making it look more like a first-generation storage facility."
Lunn also shared a chart indicating the structure’s 33-foot height is in line with neighboring buildings. The developer said he’s also willing to sign a restriction to cap any further building at 37 feet.
"It really does fit in with the massing and scaling of other buildings in both directions," committee chair Mike Emerson said during the meeting. "And the setback provides some relief and walking space that isn't there now."
6/9/17 – Developer Jonathan Lunn is seeking zoning approval to raze a vacant industrial complex in the Edison Park area of Chicago and build a three-story self-storage facility in its place. Lunn presented the plan on Wednesday to Anthony Napolitano, an alderman with the 41st Ward's Zoning Advisory Committee. Most alderman approve zoning changes at their own discretion; however, Napolitano defers to an 11-member committee made up of representatives from various community groups in the ward, according to the source.
The building at 6250 N. Northwest Highway is in the Norwood Park Commercial District. If the zoning isn’t approved, Lunn said he’ll likely build a two-story warehouse behind the existing structure.
The plans call for a 33-foot-tall building with a single entrance that would include 800 units and 30 video cameras for security. Lunn predicts the site would receive about 25 visitors per day. “Pretty much the lowest on the traffic scale out of any kind of business," he said. Lunn also noted a feasibility study showed the area has only one storage facility within two miles of the site.
A 25-foot setback from the street would leave room for landscaping. "I think the setback really does help as a buffer, and as the rest of Northwest Highway starts to develop, I think that'll be advantageous," said Marc Pelini, who represents the Norwood Park Historical Society on the committee. "There should be a happy medium here, when we're talking about getting rid of an old, antiquated building that probably shouldn't even be there in the first place."
During the meeting, some neighbors expressed concern about the facility’s height and design, which was shown in a preliminary rendering. "People like changes in the neighborhood up to a certain point. But if you're going to be building higher and higher, then we've got a problem," said resident Sande Ford. "You've got to make sure that you're setting a clear precedent for new buildings that get proposed."
The building’s design will “completely change” before the committee meets to discuss the project again in July, according to Chris Michalek, an architect with Sullivan, Goulette & Wilson Ltd., the Chicago-based firm designing the project.
"It's a nice proposal, but people are clearly looking for them to make some changes, to make the building a bit more decorative," said Chris Vittorio, Napolitano’s chief of staff. "But [Lunn] doesn't necessarily need this zoning change to start building, so hopefully we can make some trade-offs and meet them halfway."