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Proposed 160-unit Noble Square apartment development breaks cover

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If approved, the project would replace a vacant lot owned by the Polish Roman Catholic Union

Photo by Jay Koziarz

Last night, Naperville-based developer the Marquette Cos. presented its latest plan to redevelop a large, vacant lot at the intersection of Walton and Noble into a new five-story apartment building. While Milwaukee Avenue’s transit-oriented building boom will add nearly 3,000 new apartments along the CTA Blue Line between Grand Avenue and Logan Square in the coming years, this particular stretch between Chicago Avenue and the Division stop has been relatively devoid of new multi-unit residential development.

According to Marquette president Darren Sloniger, the group modified its original plan to construct a nine-story building with 260 apartments at the site. “After meeting with the department of planning and the Eckhart Park Community Council, we received some feedback that it was too dense, too big for the neighborhood,” explained Sloniger. “So we made the decision to ratchet it back to [better] conform with the surrounding neighborhood.”

Designed by Chicago architecture firm Brininstool + Lynch, the revised plan would contain 160 rental units. Clad in brick, metal, and a fiber cement known as Nichiha, the development’s “front” along Walton features 17 two-story townhouses for more of a contextualized low-rise appearance from street level.

The project as viewed from Walton Street. Note the two-story townhomes topped by communal amenity space.
Photo by Jay Koziarz

Above, an indoor/outdoor shared amenity space with a pool deck and fitness center will be available to residents. Marquette has no plans for ground floor retail given the residential nature of the block and the fact that the retail space at the firm’s West Loop Catalyst development has remained vacant for so long. Access to the building’s 111-space garage will take place off of Elizabeth Street—which is really more of a pot-holed alleyway than a heavily trafficked right-of-way.

While some neighbors expressed concerns about the project’s parking needs spilling over and affecting on-street availability, developer expects the 0.69 unit-to-parking ratio to be more than adequate given the building’s proximity to Chicago’s busiest bike corridor and the fact that convertible and one-bedroom apartments will make-up roughly 70 percent of the building’s unit mix. The project will also conform with Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) and feature at least ten percent affordable rate units.

Google Street View

The nearly 50,000-square-foot development site is currently owned by the adjacent Polish Roman Catholic Union. Contrary to earlier rumors that the Depression-era PRCU headquarters and museum are in play for redevelopment, Mr. Sloniger reassured residents that this was not the case. “I tried to make an offer on the building and I can tell you it’s not for sale,” joked the developer.

Zoned for single family homes, the parcel would need to be changed to B2-3 Neighborhood Mixed-Use. If approvals go as smoothly as the developer hopes, the Noble and Walton project could break ground in the spring of 2018 and open for business in the summer of 2019. Meanwhile, a different developer is working to bring roughly 40 new condo units to the neighboring St. Boniface Church.