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Addison Park plan near Wrigley advances, but no hotel booked

Updated: November 19, 2013 6:34AM

The Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday approved a revised, $140 million development near Wrigley Field — with 100 more parking spaces, a few more residential units, but no previously-planned hotel — despite concerns that it’s all too much for the congested area to swallow.

Four years ago, Wrigleyville residents concerned about game day congestion lined up against an Addison Park on Clark project that included a hotel, retail and residential complex.

They were concerned the building’s precedent-setting height — 91 feet at its tallest point — would turn their residential neighborhood into a “downtown, tall-building commercial district.” They were not appeased when M&R Development shrunk the project and lowered the height to below the Wrigley roofline.

But, that was before the City Council approved the Cubs $500 million plan to renovate 99-year-old Wrigley and develop the land around it with its own boutique hotel.

That prompted a developer who has struggled to secure financing to drop the hotel, raise the number of residential units to 148 and increase the minimum number of parking spaces from 399 to 493.

The project, which now rises to a height of 93 feet also includes wider sidewalks and 169,000 square feet of commercial space, including a health club.

On Thursday, the Plan Commission approved the revised plan amid warnings about construction overload.

“While Mayor Emanuel and the transit-oriented development ordinance are attempting to reduce dependence on the automobile, Addison Park on Clark is looking to increase the already-excessive number of parking spaces . . . by 23 percent,” said longtime Wrigleyville resident Allan Mellis.

“Add to this the traffic that will be generated by Wrigley Field games and a lot more events, the new Cubs hotel, the year-round event plaza that is being planned across the street, it will result in much, too much congestion.”

Local Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) strongly disagreed.

“This is truly an entertainment area without parking. Most of our surface parking over the last ten years has been lost to development. The overall parking inventory of the neighborhood is a serious problem regardless of the fact that it’s close to the CTA station. . . . This will at least give people a place to park — when they’re there in the entertainment area,” said the alderman, who insisted that the project be “set back as far as possible” from the street.

If anything, Tunney said the site needs more development — not less.

“I don’t think the site, if you look at it currently, does justice to how much development is sorely needed on this patch,” he said.

“There are a number of existing parking lots. There’s a drive-up 7-Eleven. If I was eligible for a project-based TIF, this area would need it because of the need for redevelopment.”

The Cubs are still insisting that rooftop club owners agree not to file a lawsuit blocking stadium signage before beginning construction.

Asked about Addison Park on Clark, team spokesman Julian Green said, “As long as the project doesn’t provide or market an in-game view, we have no objection to it.”


Twitter: @fspielman

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