Council Considers Luxury Apartment Plan

Council considers luxury apartment plan for downtown

By Michelle Manchir TribLocal reporter Nov. 9 at 5:26 p.m.



An artist’s rendering of the luxury apartment building concept being proposed for downtown Wheaton. (Drawing provided by Morningside Equities Group, Inc.)

A building developer sought support from the Wheaton City Council on plans to build a 300-unit luxury apartment building in downtown Wheaton.

Representatives from the Morningside Equities Group, a Chicago-based design and construction company, presented their plan this week to council members for the building, to be located at 218 E. Wesley St., the former Wescott site, which is now a vacant lot.

The plans include a six-story building with a courtyard, fitness center, bike storage area and a community room, in addition to a heated, enclosed parking garage for about 400 cars, according to documents from the company. If the complex opened today, rent would be roughly $1,730 a month per unit, said Mary Ellen Martin, a member of the Morningside Group who presented information to the council.

The developer is requesting money from the city in the form of tax increment dollars to fund some portions of the proposed concept, like street lighting and landscaping. But representatives said the investment risk would be on developer’s, not on the city’s dime, because the city would only pay for a portion of the project if the projected tax revenue estimated to come in from the luxury apartments actually rolls in.

Council member Jeanne Ives, was hesitant to embrace the company’s revenue projection of millions of dollars.

“We can’t  sit up here and say that these are the numbers we’re really going to look at,” Ives said.

Most council members who spoke up agreed filling the empty lot with the new rental option was a good move.

“After looking at that property vacant for so many years, I’m looking forward to have it developed,” said councilman Tom Mouhelis.

No formal vote was taken Monday to initiate the project. The developer must still approach the city’s zoning board and come before the city council once more before the project moves ahead with TIF fund.

Furthermore, Martin said Wednesday the company is still considering other factors before moving forward.

“The council’s perspective is one of many important items to be carefully explored and considered,” she said.

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