There is finally some momentum brewing over at the vacant Giesche Building on Main Street in Glen Ellyn.
Larry Debb and John Kosich of GSP Development purchased the building which has been vacant since 2014 and had requested “approval of a Special Use for a Planned Unit Development” to build a five-story mixed-use building. The reason they needed a “special use” approval is that currently only four-story units are allowed downtown.
The proposal was unanimously approved on January 7 by the Village Board. The highlights of that proposal included:
- 107 luxury apartment units on floors two through five.
- Studio units and two bedroom luxury apartments will be available with rents from as low as $1,770 to as high as $3,326 per month.
- One bedroom apartments may be converted to two bedroom units.
- Apartments may be coverted to condos in the future.
- Common areas will include a rooftop pool, a barbeque area, a party room with shared kitchen, fitness and yoga rooms, conference rooms and I’ve saved the best for last, a freakin’ golf simulator!
- I want to move here.
While the residential component of the new building will be on the second to the fifth floor, the first floor will contain 8,844 square feet of commercial space.
The proposal doesn’t go into any specifics of what would go in the commercial space, but they described it as “meeting today’s commercial tenant expectations.”
What Will Happen with Parking?
The new proposal includes taking over not just the former Giesche building, but also the adjacent parking lot. To amend the parking situation, the first floor of the new development will be a public parking garage, while the second floor will contain parking spaces for residents.
The Main Street lot currently contains 80 parking spaces, in addition to 42 spaces that are permit parking only. The new development will provide 137 public parking spaces on the first floor, giving a net gain of 57 places to park.
However, those 80 parking spaces will be out of commission for the eight months it will take to complete the new structure. The Village is working on a short-term solution to this, and one answer already in place is free valet service on Friday and Saturday nights which is being offered by the following restaurants:
- Fire and Wine
- Maize and Mash
- Nobel House
- Santa Fe
- Shannon’s Irish Pub
This free valet service is in place through March, so hopefully, the village and the restaurants will decide to continue the service until the new parking garage is in place.
Parking Garage Access Points
There will be three public access points to the first-floor parking garage, which the village notes will be one more access point than there is to the current parking lot.
The access points will be on Main Street, Hillside Ave, and Glenwood Ave. Building residents would only be able to access their garage spots from the Hillside entryway.
What are the Next Steps?
The Village Board will meet again on Monday, January 28 to give final consideration on the project. Here are the next steps in their language:
If the project receives preliminary approval from the Village Board, the project will need to return to both the Plan Commission and the Village Board for approval of the Final Planned Unit Development Plan. The review of the Final PUD is expected to be in the spring of 2019.
Given the eight-month time frame mentioned earlier, if approved, we could potentially see this project done sometime in 2020. It would be a massive change to the overall look and feel of downtown Glen Ellyn. The quaintness of the Village will undoubtedly diminish, to an extent.
At the same time, who enjoys walking downtown and seeing vacant buildings?
The addition of 57 parking spaces, a local rejuvenation of retail potential, as well as the removal of a vacant eye-sore more than overcome any negative aspects of the project, in my humble opinion.