Office, research building proposed on Warrenville Road

Naperville’s Planning and Zoning Commission gave a unanimous positive recommendation to a proposed office and research building near the intersection of Warrenville Road and Lucent Drive.

The identity of the business is being kept under wraps pending the final outcome of financial incentives being negotiated with the state of Illinois.

“They are a known quantity in the area,” Russ Whitaker, attorney for the petitioner, told the commission.

Whitaker said that the company is a publicly-traded, 100-year-old European firm known to be a good steward of the environment, as evidenced by the fact that the proposed two-story, 131,000-square-foot facility would be built as an environmentally-sensitive building.

The total parcel is 13.25 acres, of which 3.25 acres sits in unincorporated DuPage County.

The developer, Daniel Murphy of Western Springs, petitioned the city for annexation and rezoning to ORI (Office, Research and Light Industrial), the same classification as the surrounding area, save a small nearby residential subdivision.

Murphy also asked for several variances involving setbacks and parking. The parking variance asked for a reduction from the 408 spaces required by code to 273 spaces, based on the firm’s plan to have fewer than the maximum number of people in the building. The developer also said that space will be set aside for an additional 77 additional spaces if needed in the future.

The setback variances are sought primarily so that the new company can avoid encroaching on area wetlands.

Whitaker stressed that the zoning was in keeping with the rest of the immediate area, which includes the old Lucent Technology campus and Navistar.

With the larger businesses, the nearby residences and Herrick Lake just to the north, the parcel is considered a particularly challenging one to develop, commission members said.

Moreover, the proposed facility is significantly smaller than what any petitioner would be allowed by city code.

“There’s a whole lot that someone could stuff on that property,” Whitaker said. “We’re (proposing) about a third of the size that the district allows.”

Whitaker assured the commission that no actual manufacturing would take place on the site, pointing out that the company wasn’t one that people actually purchased products from, but rather one that had a hand in producing many products.

The facility would have 150 employees in the beginning, and has the capacity for 200 in the future.

The building would be split between 85,000 square feet for office workers and 45,000 for research.

City staff supports the petition and commissioners had no serious objections.

“I don’t see anything wrong at this stage of the game,” commission member Sean Hasting said. “I’m comfortable with the lack of understanding of the tenant that’s going to go in there.”

Commisson member Bob Williams gave the petition his stamp of approval.

“I am just very enthusiastic about this project,” he said.

Contacted later, Whitaker said that the petitioner would take the project to City Council soon to get final approval.

“The plan is to be at the Aug. 19 City Council meeting,” he said.

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