The proposed plan for Darien’s apartment thumbs down

DARIEN, IL – Two Darien committees have approved an apartment complex project that many neighbors are opposed to.

It was originally offered as condos 16 years ago, but that plan has changed to apartments. The resort is located on the southeast corner of South Frontage Road and Sokol Court, east of the Extended Stay America hotel.

On April 21, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission recommended against the apartment complex, called Darien Heights, by a 7-1 vote.

Five days later, one of the three members of the city’s municipal service committee offered to approve the apartment complex, but the request was unsuccessful. The city therefore listed the result as an “unfavorable recommendation” for the apartments.

City council is expected to follow up on the proposal at its Monday meeting.

In recent weeks, the city has received dozens of comments against the apartment complex. The message from resident Jeanne Peterson was typical.

“I read online that the developer wanted to put in” high-end apartments. How are the $ 1,500 per month apartment rentals “upscale”? “Said Peterson.” I know this is what the people of Midlothian pay for the apartments. We have enough trouble with people using our private park and walking around the area from the Extended Stay hotel. this reason I now have security cameras. I am not opposed to condos, but do not support apartments. “

According to the plan, 68 apartments would be in a four-story building. The developer says amenities would include a heated underground parking lot with a car wash, storage units, party room, exercise room, outdoor patio and a small dog park.

The developer is Paul Swanson of Paul Swanson Associates, based in Mount Prospect.

Swanson hired Schaumburg-based real estate consulting firm Tracy Cross & Associates to examine the apartment complex’s effects on the value of nearby properties.

According to the firm, based on its professional opinion, the development would have no negative impact on the value of neighboring properties.

“In fact, the introduction of high quality rental apartments in similar situations throughout the Chicago area has often helped solidify the values ​​of nearby properties, simply on the basis of improving the area (s).” , the company said.

The developer hired another company to investigate the apartment versus condo markets. The company, Nationwide Mortgage and Realty Co., based in Hoffman Estates, said it had found the condo market to be “very weak.” And he said that funding from developers for the construction of luxury apartments was much more available.

On social media and on the Patch website, critics have said that the proposed apartment complex could become the site for federally subsidized housing, commonly referred to as Section 8. At this review, the app for the complex of apartments asked: “Is your accommodation subsidized by the rental community?”

“The answer is categorical no!” Swanson said.

He said the monthly rent would range from $ 1,500 for a one-bedroom, one-bath suite to $ 2,700 for the larger two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit – “barely subsidized rental housing.” .

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