WEST LOOP — An influential neighborhood group has pulled its support for a controversial condo development planned near Mary Bartelme Park in the West Loop.
In a change of course, the West Loop Community Organization has informed the area’s alderman that it is no longer supporting the nine-story plus penthouse building at 111 S. Peoria St.
LG Development is seeking a zoning change that would allow the firm to build the tower, which would include 95 condominiums on a site that now houses a parking lot.
Both the West Central Association and West Loop Community Organization supported the project. But late last month, WLCO issued a new letter saying that the group could not support the project.
When LG Development presented an updated plan to the community in August, the facade of the building had been significantly redesigned without input from WLCO’s development committee, Agostinelli said. The group’s board requested a meeting with the developer, and on Sept. 1, the developer agreed to make a series of changes to the plan and submit new renderings to WLCO that reflected those changes, according to Agostinelli.
Despite the agreement, the developer submitted an unchanged plan to the city’s Plan Commission on Sept. 24, Agostinelli said.
“Therefore WLCO is unable to recommend the project at 111 S. Peoria,” she wrote to Burnett. “It’s unfortunate that we aren’t able to recommend the project at this time because of their lack of response to us.”
The West Loop Residents Association and others opposed to the project have hired an attorney to fight the project.
Alternative community center plan
In an effort to offer an alternative to the developer’s plan, a group of neighbors pitched a two-story community center to the alderman in August, contending that the center would be a better fit for the neighborhood.
Burnett ultimately said he could not consider the plan because the group had not contacted the property’s owner. Cacciatore, president of the group that currently owns the 111 S. Peoria site, confirmed in a letter that neighbors pushing the community center plan had not reached out to him.
The community center plan, developed by the West Loop Residents Association and other neighbors, would be privately financed through fundraising. Neighbor Richard Dees said he secured a $2 million commitment to the project that would be used to purchase the property.
Alderman Walter Burnett reminded neighbors that he doesn’t make decisions on new development based on how it will affect other residents’ existing views. No one has “a right” to a view, he said.
“I can tell when there’s a lot of B.S. going on and people are really talking about views,” Alderman Walter Burnett said.
As of August, LG Development did not own the Peoria lot, but did have a contract with the property’s owner Peter Cacciatore to buy the property for $6.25 million. The sale is contingent on a zoning change that would allow for their condo proposal to be developed at the site, according to partner Brian Goldberg.
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