Aurora panel recommends plan for apartment building downtown – Chicago Tribune

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An Aurora City Council committee has recommended a plan for apartments on the west side of the Fox River downtown.

Officials said Pacifica Riverview and its seven-story building with 190 residential units will be the beginning of a new neighborhood on the north edge of downtown, connecting new development along the river and RiverEdge Park.

“We have a unique opportunity to create a distinctive neighborhood downtown,” said Alex Alexandrou, the city’s chief management officer, comparing the possibility of being similar to Chicago’s River North area. “We are going to try to be creative and inventive.”

Aldermen on the Building, Zoning and Economic Development Committee unanimously recommended a conditional planned use development last week, as well as a preliminary plan for the development which will be in what is currently a city parking lot along River Street, where the new pedestrian bridge is, across the river from RiverEdge Park.

The 2.34-acre development would have studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments, as well as 10 row houses directly along the riverfront. The two-story row houses will feature terraces on their rooftops, and the development will also have a communal rooftop terrace for the entire complex on its third floor.

The development also would have about 2,000 square feet of retail on its first floor, a party room and a workout center.

Alexandrou said the development, along with the DAC apartment development right across the river on the east bank, will be “an amazing start” to plans for a community in that area along the river.

The developer is the Windfall Group, which also is developing the Pacifica Square shopping center on the far East Side. The company has developments throughout the country that are Asian-themed, and carry the Pacifica name.

Crystal Hayes, the development’s architect, said officials wanted to use the Pacifica name and added Riverview because of its proximity to the riverfront.

“We are extending the Pacifica name brand elsewhere in the country,” she said.

The project is considered a transit-oriented development by the city’s development officials because of its proximity to the Transportation Center, as well as to local bike trails. For that reason, officials are allowing the developers to provide parking at the rate of 1.5 spaces for each unit, rather than two, said Tracey Vacek, senior planner for the city.

“People will use the train, walk,” she said. “We did the same for Station Boulevard (on the far East Side, near the Route 59 Metra station) and it seems to be working out really well.”

She did mention that the city is aware with more developments coming downtown, parking will be needed. Development officials soon will be asking for money in the 2023 budget for an overall study of downtown parking.

Ald. Michael Saville, 6th Ward, committee chairman, said he hopes that developers will work with the city’s Design Committee to get some consistency with the overall look of downtown.

Getting that look, which has helped downtown, he said, has been a long-term goal.

“People come up to me unprovoked and tell me how good the downtown looks,” he said. “In the 1980s, people thought the best thing to do with downtown was to demolish it.”

Alexandrou said officials will walk a line between a look consistent with downtown and creating a specific look for that area of town. He said the area will have somewhat of “a differentiating feel.”

The plans will go to the full City Council at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

slord@tribpub.com

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October 17, 2022 at 07:13AM

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