Naperville council delays vote on Riverwalk development
Nov 21, 2012 (Menafn - Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --A controversial development proposed along Naperville's Riverwalk will keep treading water for two more weeks.
City councilmen on Tuesday agreed to give developer Marquette Companies additional time to tweak the Water Street project that would put a 131-room hotel in the city's downtown.
Following three hours of discussion, Councilman Steve Chirico called for the extension "to allow the development team to come back and bring whatever plan Bs they might have back to the community so this thing doesn't get scratched all together."
The development proposed is targeted for a 2.4-acre site bounded by Aurora Avenue on the south, the DuPage River on the north, Main Street on the east and Webster Street on the west.
The City Council gave preliminary approval to a smaller version of the plan in 2007, but the work never got off the ground. The latest plans call for a 131-room, seven-story Holiday Inn hotel with a rooftop restaurant, 62 apartments, restaurant, retail and office spaces, a 580-space parking deck and Riverwalk, streetscape and plaza improvements.
The city's planning staff and Planning and Zoning Commission have said they support the plan. However, residents and councilmen alike have expressed concerns about the project's height, density, potential to tie up traffic, possible shortage of parking and its impact on the Riverwalk.
Before the meeting, the Naperville Fire Department parked a truck outside with its ladder extended to roughly show the height of the development.
Nearly 30 residents made comments during Tuesday's meeting, split about evenly between supporters and opponents. Kathleen West, attorney for the developer, presented a handful of modifications, such as the addition of about three dozen parking spaces in the garage, but they seemed to do little to persuade critics.
"When all is said and done we have ... a promise made that wasn't kept, we have math on parking that doesn't make sense, we have height that walks away from the Water Street vision statement and its intent," Councilman Grant Wehrli said.
Councilman Doug Krause called the project "trying to put 10 pounds in a 5-pound bag."
"It needs to be developed, but not at this density," he said.
But the project is not without City Council support. Chirico called it "stately and majestic" and Councilman Kenn Miller said it would bring "economic value to all of downtown."
"This is I think a very thoughtful project with a lot of great amenities to it that we all will enjoy and like the (Main Street) Promenade and Barnes & Noble and others that have been built downtown where people have had issues ... we'll look back and say this is a great addition to Naperville and the downtown," Miller said.
After the meeting Bruno Bottarelli, managing director of Marquette Companies, said he was surprised by the vote being delayed and did not immediately know what modifications his company would make to the plans. Councilmen will resume discussion of the Water Street project on Dec. 4.
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