GLEN ELLYN – Glen Ellyn plan commissioners are reacting favorably to a new proposal for the former Giesche Shoes store at 400 N. Main St. in Glen Ellyn that calls for the building to be razed to make way for a five-story complex that would include luxury apartments, commercial space and a two-level parking deck.
Commissioners conducted a pre-application meeting on the plans at their meeting May 10. Concept plans call for a mixed-use development on the Giesche site and the adjacent village-owned parking lot.
GSP Development submitted the concept plans. The principals involved in GSP Development are Larry Debb and John Kosich.
Concept plans for the complex call for the construction of 107 luxury apartments on the second floor and above. The first floor would contain about 5,300 square feet of commercial space.
"Overall, I think the number of units probably make sense," commissioner David Rodemann said. "You have a certain number you're needing to hit to make a project like this feasible. I've always thought that number was around 100, so I think you're kind of there. I appreciate the effort."
However, Rodemann said he was worried about the height of the proposed complex and the number of parking spaces. The first floor of the parking deck would include 147 public parking stalls. In addition, the deck would include 142 spaces on the second level that would serve those residents living in the apartments.
Currently, there are 134 spaces in the Main Street parking lot
"It seems to be coming up a little short on the benefit," Rodemann said.
The proposed height for the majority of the building is 58.25 feet measured from the average grade, according to a village memo on the proposal. The corner tower element, on the high side of the site, measures at about 63.25 feet, the memo stated.
The project will require approval of a height deviation. A total building height of 45 feet and four stories is permitted on the Main Street properties in the commercial district.
"We're about the same height as the church next door to us," Debb told commissioners. "We're slightly lower than the bigger church to our west [St. Petronille Catholic Church], and we're significantly lower than the steeple on that church. We're lower than the height of this building [Glen Ellyn Civic Center] also."
Commissioner Angela Fanella also liked the plans.
"I think this is what Glen Ellyn needs," she said. "We are going to have to make compromises, and not everyone is going to like it. We have a lot of restaurants, and we need people to fill them. And this is a great idea."
However, commissioner Tim Loftus thought the proposed complex was too tall.
"The change in height from Santa Fe [Mexican Restaurant] to your building is 38 feet on one side," Loftus said. That's virtually three stories."
He also didn't like the building's proposed architecture.
"It's a nice building, but it feels out of place with what we have on Main Street in Glen Ellyn," Loftus said.
Commissioner Tracy Heming-Littwin said she believed "this is the right time for doing something like this in the village."
"I grew up in this town, and I've seen this town completely change," she said. "I remember where old stores were. But it's still Glen Ellyn to me. With a development like this, it would enhance the downtown."