CHICAGO-It may not be the most attractive development to hit a city hall easel, but plans for a 67-unit multifamily project at 1228-44 W. Monroe St. have advanced to the city council. The $20-million project recently received a favorable recommendation, though less than unanimous, from the plan commission.

Residential developer David Dubin plans to acquire the 1.02-acre West Loop site from Wertheimer Box & Paper Co. and demolish a one-story, 80-year-old building on the property. He would the build 33 townhouses, priced in the “high $300s,” in three buildings on the western portion of the site in a courtyard arrangement. Dubin also plans a five-story condominium building with 34 units, priced in the “mid $200s.” Seven units in the building would be available to buyers qualifying under the city’s affordable housing initiative.

“You’re going to get that?” 42nd Ward Alderman Burton Natarus asked Dubin. “We hope to, and we have experience at it,” the developer answered.

However, the development’s aesthetics came in for harsher criticism. “You come as close to Tokyo as you can be,” says 50th Ward Alderman Bernard Stone. “It’s the worst plan I’ve ever seen, and I’m appalled the department (of planning and development) approved it. I find this plan truly shameful.”

Because the project has the support of 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Stone withheld his vote rather than buck aldermanic protocol. Likewise, plan commission member George W. Migala withheld his vote.

Attorney Caroline Nash notes the project was scaled down from an original 198-unit scheme as a result of more than a year of community meetings. The density sought in Dubin’s proposed residential planned development is 25% less than what would be allowed under the current M1-3 zoning, which would allow up to 133,000 sf of buildings on the site.

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