Water Street planners request another delay
By Susan Frick Carlman email@example.com February 16, 2013 8:00PM
Updated: March 18, 2013 6:42AM
A decision will probably be put off at least another two weeks on the long-debated Water Street mixed-use development proposal.
City Council members were expected to again take up the request Tuesday evening from Marquette Properties for approval of its latest plan for a hotel, apartments, office/retail space and a large parking structure on Water Street west of Main Street in downtown Naperville. Representatives for Marquette, which has tried off and on since 2005 to develop the parcel, have asked for more time to prepare for the current plan to go before the Council.
“We will be meeting with city staff to develop the financial structure of this public/private initiative so as to make it financially viable for Marquette and financially beneficial for the city,” attorney and Marquette representative Kathleen West wrote in a Feb. 12 letter to the City Council.
West asked the officials to hold off consideration of the request until their March 5 business meeting. City staff members support the postponement.
“It’s a significant package,” said Jeff Prosapio, Marquette’s director of construction management. “Because we’ve made a couple rounds of changes, we want to make sure there isn’t any old data mixed with the new data .... After you’ve reviewed it so many times, it kind of blends together.”
The plan has undergone a series of adjustments since the most recent effort to develop the 2.4-acre site was launched last year. Responding to objections focused largely on the size of the development’s components, Marquette brought down the height of the proposed hotel by more than 30 percent, now just topping 60 feet. The developer also eliminated 27 parking spaces from its original request for the parking facility, which had capacity for 551 vehicles. However, designers figured out how to get most of them back in the most recent revision, done after a well-attended open house last month at Naper Settlement.
“We figured out how to get a few more parking spaces in,” Prosapio said, adding that the proposal regained 25 slots in the redesign. “It added a half ramp, and we were still able to keep the height under 70 feet.”
The size of the parking structure has been targeted by critics who say the development is generally too large and too dense for the location. The Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation, which has been vocal in its concerns about the plan, has called for a three-story height limit on all buildings along the Riverwalk, and a maximum of five stories for structures erected south of Water Street.
The current renderings show a five-story building that would house a 166-room hotel in addition to commercial, retail and restaurant space. A separate four-story building next door would be home to more commercial tenants on the street level, with offices on the upper floors.
Developers recently released more information about the hotel, which would contain approximately 166 rooms, including suites. The second floor lobby would feature a great room with fireplace, as well as four small meeting rooms that can accommodate approximately 15 people per room or be combined for up to 60. Discussions are taking place with the Naperville Heritage Society so that displays on the history and culture of Naperville may be featured in the lobby, giving guests a glimpse into the history of Naperville.
A pedestrian bridge would give hotel guests access from the lobby to the Loggia Building where there would be additional riverfront rooms and suites as well as a proposed rooftop restaurant.
Other amenities planned include a swimming pool with waterfall and an adjacent full service spa.
The project would also include expansion of the Riverwalk on the south side of the river that would feature brick pavers, an art wall and seating, and would be reached by a broad staircase leading from the plaza and fountain area between the Loggia Building and and another building in the development.
Opponents of the project have said they think a building as tall as the hotel along the Riverwalk would dominate the landscape and detract from the beauty of the linear park, which winds through the downtown and is regarded by many as one of the city’s treasures.
Prosapio said a variety of relatively minor issues are still being resolved with city staff on the plan.
“It was probably an aggressive date to say we’d be ready for the 19th (Council meeting),” he said.