Chicago developer’s University District six-story proposal faces roadblock

Columbus Business First

A photo of the apartment buildings that stand at 50 E. 7th Avenue currently.

COLUMBUS (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — A six-story apartment building proposed in the University District has hit a roadblock.

The 150-unit apartment building would be located at 50 E. 7th Ave., near the key King Avenue and High Street intersection. The site is currently home to a couple of three-story apartment buildings.

Chicago-based Peerless Development Group requested a variance to make the site denser and have fewer parking spaces, among other things.

Michael Kehlmeier, chair of the University Area Commission’s zoning committee, said committee members are opposed to the development because of its height, how much density it would add to the area, and the amount of parking proposed.

“The variances are just asking too much,” Kehlmeier said.

Some community members are also concerned with protecting the historic “flavor” of the area, Kehlmeier said.

Peerless came before the University Area Commission this winter and has been back three or four times for conceptual hearings, Kehlmeier said.

In July, the zoning committee voted against the development. It was voted down a second time on Monday, with two votes in favor and three against the development. The full commission will still hear the application later this month.

Peerless Development Group did not immediately respond for comment.

Kehlmeier said the development was originally proposed at seven stories high, but Peerless brought the height down after talking with neighborhood groups.

If built, the project would include studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, 77 parking stalls in its parking garage, and eight exterior stalls.

The developers completed a traffic study and a sun study. Both found there would not be a significant impact on the surrounding neighborhood from the building being built.

Across the street at 1347 N. High Street, a St. Louis-based developer recently got approval to build a 153-unit apartment building after nearly two years of back and forth with the community. Subtext proposed the building before the pandemic and reimagined the building several times before getting approval.

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