Thursday, November 3, 2022

4642 N. Magnolia Approved, Ending a Long Strange Saga

4642 N. Magnolia
After years of contentious back and forth between residents and one of their neighbors, Alderman Cappleman has approved a developer's plans to build an apartment building on the former spot of the "Corn King" house at 4642 N. Magnolia.

Longtime readers will remember that this home was damaged by fire in the 1990s. After the home sat empty for many years, it was put up for sale and eventually purchased by local residents. The owners (the Finan family) live nearby and operate O'Shaunessy's Public House at Wilson and Ravenswood.

In a highly contentious move, the Finans ultimately demolished the vintage single family home, hoping to build condos on the empty site. Their plan required an upzone from the existing RS-3 zoning, and a battle over upzoning ensued.

Unable to reach an accord with neighbors, the Finans elected to keep the lot empty for multiple years, with several attempts to sell the empty lot in between. The listing was then pulled in 2021, and new plans emerged in 2022 for a new building that would again require a zoning change.

Following a precedent established with a proposal considered by the neighboring Beacon Block Club in 2019, local block club Magnolia Malden Neighbors put the proposal up to a vote by neighbors. Two advisory votes came back in favor of allowing the proposal, and Magnolia Malden sent a letter to the alderman reporting the vote results.

In addition to reporting the vote tally, the block club letter included questions for the developer and Alderman seeking clarification of certain details, including the type of brick to be used in the facade, alternative garbage storage and collection, and preservation of some of the existing features, including the mature parkway trees and the iron fence that remained after the 2014 demolition. 

The developer recently sent a response including a revised plan, which was included under the 4642 Magnolia section on Ald. Cappleman's development page.

In the new plan, the original site plans were revised to eliminate garages at the rear to accommodate garbage access. The developer also pledged to attempt to protect the parkway trees and retain the front iron fence. 

Most importantly, the developer identified the type of bricks that will be used on the facade. The Alderman wrote that he is requiring the developer to select bricks appropriate for the historic nature of Sheridan Park, with the selection approved by the City's Department of Planning and Development(Ed. Note - we aren't DPD or historic building experts, but our internal vote came out ranked Medium Ironspot #46, Manganese Ironspot, Dark Ironspot, Sienna Ironspot. Would love to hear reader thoughts on colors.)

This morning, Alderman Cappleman sent out his newsletter which linked to his decision, which is reprinted below:

Alderman Cappleman’s Zoning Change Determination: 4642 N. Magnolia

"After hearing input from Magnolia-Malden Neighbors Association, as well as their affirmative vote to approve this development, I have decided to support the upzone to allow for a 6-flat rental building on this site. My decision was based on the negotiations between the developer and the community, as well as the overwhelming need for more housing in the 46th Ward which has increasingly become a very popular place for many to call their home. This property has been vacant for several years and the zoning change will allow for six new units on a site that currently has zero."

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