Ambrosia Homes eyes Madison

Luxury apartment building would include 23 units and 23 parking spaces

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

A 23-unit luxury apartment building could be headed to a vacant lot on the corner of Madison Street and Lyman Avenue, where a year ago the board rejected plans for a Taco Bell fast-food restaurant.

The proposal by Chicago-based developer Ambrosia Homes Inc. calls for constructing a three-story building of mainly 2-bedroom units and a parking lot to the south with space for 23 vehicles, Ambrosia Homes president Tim Pomaville said in a telephone interview.

The proposal has been presented to the Madison Street Coalition, an advisory board created by the village of Oak Park. It now heads to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), which will hear the plan and make a recommendation to the Oak Park Board of Trustees. 

The proposal could be built without approval of the ZBA or the board of trustees, but it is asking for a zoning variance because the proposal does not include ground-level retail, which is required for new projects along the commercial corridor.

Pomaville said the entrance to the building would face Lyman because he aims to have residents feel like they're part of the neighborhood.

"People are moving to Oak Park because of the community and because of the schools and they want to be somewhere where you have neighborhoods and you know your neighbors," he said.

He said the average size is about 1,000 square feet per unit, and the two-bedroom units will run about $2,000 to $2,200 a month. There will be an additional charge for parking, Pomaville said.

Ambrosia aims to break ground on the project this fall and continue construction through the winter. 

The project includes no affordable units, and Ambrosia does not plan to request any tax subsidy from the village, he said.

Ambrosia has largely built single-family homes in Oak Park — about 10 of them, Pomaville said. They've been working in the village since 2009. The Madison Street project is their first multifamily dwelling in the village.

The building would stand about 36 feet tall, far below the 50-foot height requirement for Madison.

"I think that so far it has been well received by the neighbors," Pomaville said, noting the widespread opposition to a proposal last year by Taco Bell to build a freestanding restaurant on the site. "We've met with them and it's been well received because they hated the Taco Bell."

While the property likely falls short of being a transit-oriented development, it is located within walking distance of both the Blue Line and Green Line el stops at Austin Boulevard, Pomaville noted.

"For us to build with no parking over there is just not economically a good idea," he said.

The parking lot will be accessible through an alley just south of the building on Lyman. 

The project is likely to get a more welcoming reception from residents who rallied against the Taco Bell that was rejected by the Oak Park Board of Trustees las summer.

Neighbors said noise, pollution and traffic from the restaurant would disrupt the neighborhood and attract more fast-food establishments to the area.

They presented the village with a petition signed by 570 residents opposing the Taco Bell plan.


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Zack from Oak Park  

Posted: August 26th, 2018 10:13 PM

Yes Maureen, was referring to this area. The renderings and full proposal outlined ( look nicer than the renderings in this article. I'm happy that they aren't including retail since we have too many openings along this stretch of Madison. I would be fine with less parking or another story on top of this building, but it is a great proposal that should pass with lots of community support.

Kline Maureen  

Posted: August 19th, 2018 9:11 AM

Zack - just to clarify your comment about luxury housing, when you refer to a lack of luxury apartments "in this area" - I imagine this refers to this specific neighborhood, and not Oak Park in general, since luxury rental is about all that's going up in the DTOP area.

Zack from Oak Park  

Posted: August 18th, 2018 10:01 PM

I'm a strong supporter of affordable housing - this area already has plenty of that. There is no luxury rental property around and I definitely would like to encourage a more diverse mix of housing. I walk past this plot all the time, can't wait for it to be built up - although I hope the end product looks nicer than this render

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