For years, the area of Mount Prospect's downtown known as the Busse Triangle has eluded the village's hopes for development. The wait could soon be over.
On Tuesday, a preliminary plan for a six-story apartment building and a two-story restaurant at 20 W. Northwest Hwy. sailed through the village board.
"I've been on the board a long time. We have had a lot of thoughts about this triangle and what we could do here," the village's senior trustee, Paul Hoefert, told the developer, Nicholas and Associates. "We just haven't been able to get it off the ground. And this is a great way to get it started, and I can't thank you enough for stepping forward."
Nicholas and Associates Vice President Nick Papanicholas Jr. told trustees the family "is very excited to continue our reinvestment in Mount Prospect. We're approaching 40 years of not only being residents in town, but also having our business in town."
He noted that the triangle site is difficult.
"It is one that is, I consider, a face of Mount Prospect, one that, I think, is going to be really important to spur development, not only at the triangle location in multiple phases, but the rest of downtown," he said.
Now the developer will submit architectural and engineering plans for review, while the village negotiates a development agreement with the company. The planning and zoning commission will then examine the final plan before it reaches the village board.
Trustee Richard Rogers voted against the preliminary plan, expressing concern about the parking. The building, which would contain 73 apartments, would provide only 78 garage spaces.
"The building itself is a first-class structure," Rogers said. "However, the parking seems to be inadequate."
A member of the development team, Chris Coleman, said the tenant profile is younger people more reliant upon Metra and other transportation alternatives such as Lyft and Zipcar.
Rogers said, though, "I think what you're going to wind up with is older people, seniors who are moving out of their homes who want to stay in Mount Prospect," all of whom are going to want their own car.
Several residents from neighboring multifamily units also showed up to question how the development would exacerbate traffic along what is known as the "alleyway" behind Brick City Tavern.
Sybil Sosin expressed particular concern about West Busse Avenue's being closed off at Wille Street.
"Once that is gone, all of that traffic is going to move to the alleyway," Sosin said. "A lot of people use both Busse and the alleyway as a way to cut corners, more or less, and not get caught up by the traffic lights. They're not going to stop doing that."
The village staff will be looking at converting West Busse Avenue from a one-way to a two-way street to relieve pressure on the alleyway.
Chris Coleman of Wingspan Development Group, a member of the Nicholas and Associates team, explains the Mount Prospect apartment plan to residents at an earlier meeting on the project.
Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer
Chris Coleman, VP of Development at Wingspan, periodically shares his thoughts and observations on property development news.