Residents Not Happy With 5th Avenue Concepts

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Ryan Companies presented two separate concepts for the seven-lot, 13-acre 5th Avenue Development on land next to and around the Naperville train station.

Both plans feature over 400 residences, along with buildings for office and retail uses.

But Concept A keeps the DuPage Children’s Museum, and Kroehler surface parking lot in place, and has mostly four-story buildings while Concept B relocates the museum and has several six-story apartment buildings.

Both plans feature a five-story office building and a five-story apartment complex across the tracks from each other.

The size of the development was just one of the issues residents had with the development when they gave their input at a meeting in city hall.

“These two concepts, there’s A and B, but to me they seem very similar, very dense,” said Naperville resident Courtney Stephani. “We just have dense, or more dense.”

“One-third of the residents surveyed said they wanted a maximum of two stories. Another third, so over two-thirds of the people want a maximum of four-story buildings,” said Naperville resident Sandee Whited. “That’s 71 percent of residents who want a maximum of four-story buildings. I just thought I’d remind everyone that you’re ignoring what we wanted. “

Ryan Companies defended their decision for a dense development, saying that they had to balance many factors when creating the concepts.

“How do we blend market demand with community input with all the infrastructure items that are out there? Our first step of this is can we even get this all to fit?” said Jim McDonald, vice president of development for Ryan Companies.

One of those infrastructure items is parking – this development will add over 1,000 spots for the retail and residential additions. But with the current concepts there will be zero new parking spaces for Metra commuters.

Instead the concept aims to make commuter life easier by moving the parking lots and improving traffic flow for the 84 percent of commuters who come from the south.

“There’s room for dual left turn lanes on 5th Avenue to go south on Washington Street to get people in and out,” explained McDonald. “We heard commuters in the working group say ‘give us a spot on the west side of Washington so I can just take a right out and go south.’”

Initial cost estimates of the project are $330-$350 million. How much Ryan Companies is paying versus how much the city is paying, and whether or not the land will be sold or leased is yet to be determined.

There’s a page on the city’s website about the 5th Avenue Development where you can see the concept and send in your input.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.