Water Street plan discussion delayed
By Hank Beckman For The Sun January 15, 2013 9:14PM
Artist rendering of the proposed Water Street project in downtown Naperville. | submitted Nov. 2012
Updated: June 15, 2013 1:48PM
As expected, the Naperville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to delay discussion of the controversial Water Street project.
The project is proposed for 2.4 acres of land south of the DuPage River, north of Aurora Avenue, west of Main Street and east of Webster Street. The plan has many backers, but also opponents concerned about the height of the proposed buildings and increased parking and traffic problems that the project may generate.
A plan that originally called for a seven-story Holiday Inn — reaching to heights of more than 80 feet — and three other buildings including a 551-space parking structure and 65,000 square feet of residential/retail/office space has been whittled down now to have a five-story hotel about 61 feet tall and a parking structure of only 524 spaces, along with the retail and office space that would include room for restaurants.
Both City Council members and the developer, Marquette Properties, said they need time to work with the revised plan for the site. The project will be on the City Council’s agenda Feb. 19.
“They’re definitely moving in the right direction,” City Councilman Grant Wehrli, a longtime critic of the project, said in a telephone interview.
The new plan calls for a hotel height of 61 feet, 8 inches, with an architectural element going to 69-feet. Another structure planned for the site called the “Loggia Building” being the same height. The planned rooftop restaurant for the hotel has been moved to the Loggia Building, making it possible for the hotel’s height to be reduced to five stories.
But Wehrli also said that he wanted to see the details of the actual drawings of the proposal and still had concerns about excess traffic and parking problems.
His colleague City Council member Steve Chirico has been a staunch supporter of the project and thinks the new proposal will garner broader support in the community.
“I like it a lot,” he said, also in a telephone interview.
Chirico, Mayor A. George Pradel and City Council member Kenn Miller have consistently been supportive of the plan, while Councilmen Wehrli, Doug Krause and Paul Hinterlong have been consistently skeptical.
Council members Bob Fieseler, Judy Brodhead and Joe McElroy have been considered by many to be swing votes.
The developer will be holding a public open house to let residents see the revised plan from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Pre-Emption House on the grounds of Naper Settlement.