Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) will not be supporting a plan from Lincoln Park's Lakeshore Sport & Fitness club to modernize their aging property at 1320 W. Fullerton Avenue and construct a new 14-story residential addition containing 154 apartments.
The elected official announced his decision on Wednesday evening in an email that cited neighborhood concerns over the height of the 158-foot-tall proposal, its lack of on-site parking, and potential traffic congestion along Fullerton Avenue.
Hopkins had this to say about the project:
After much deliberation and feedback from neighbors, it has been determined that the zoning change request for 1320 W. Fullerton must be denied. The 14-story, 158-foot building proposed by Lakeshore Sport and Fitness is much too large for the location and would significantly alter the character of the neighborhood in a way that local residents have clearly expressed is undesirable. The next closest building height within a half-mile radius of the site, with the exception of a nearby church steeple, is less than half that height at approximately 75 feet.
With the proposed addition of 154 residential units, but only 27 parking spots in a non-TOD location, there is not enough parking and this is not sufficient for the building.
Finally, there are also valid concerns regarding traffic congestion. The pre-COVID traffic count for Fullerton Avenue between Ashland and Racine was 24,400 vehicles per day. This is an extremely high number of vehicles for a street that only has one traffic lane in each direction, and the increase that would be brought by 154 additional dwelling units would be significant enough to worsen that situation.
As your alderman, I highly value your feedback. In this case, the feedback was clear. The neighborhood does not desire a building of this size, so I will not be supporting a zoning change for this location. Thank you to those of you who participated in the community meeting process and/or provided feedback to my office.
Under Chicago's longstanding tradition of so-called "aldermanic prerogative," which essentially grants local officials first and final say on zoning in their respective wards, the thumbs down from Hopkins means the proposal for 1320 W. Fullerton is dead in its tracks.
It is, however, possible that Lakeshore Sport & Fitness will come back to the table with a new plan for the site that addresses the aforementioned NIMBY complaints. In 2019 Ald. Hopkins rejected a 39-story apartment proposal from Newcastle Limited. The developer eventually returned with a heavily revised 29-story plan which is currently under evaluation by Hopkins and local residents.