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Residents weigh in on Addison Parking Deck design

ELMHURST – About a dozen residents showed up Monday to share their input on the design of the Addison Avenue Parking Deck during the first of two open houses.

"I'm recommending they include the use of colorful awnings and other soft elements," said Elmhurst resident Gary Van Zandbergen.

Van Zandbergen said he spends a lot of time in downtown Elmhurst and he thought awnings on the first floor retail space would create more of a market feel.

He didn't, however, have much concern about height of the six-story building, saying it had never been much of an issue to him.

The mixed-use project will house 16,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor facing Addison Avenue and wrapping around on Schiller Court. Above that will be 690 public parking spaces.

Louis Vandeloecht from GMA Architects presented community members with the project's evolution over the past four years. Earlier in the project, architects explored giving the building a prairie-style design similar to that of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital.

"We started to realize that didn't necessarily fit into the fabric of downtown Elmhurst," Vandeloecht said.

Vandeloecht said architects also considered the cost of certain materials while making changes to the design.

"When the office disappeared, we went back to the drawing board," said Vandeloecht, explaining that without second-floor office space, GMA had more control over the spacing of windows.

From there, GMA came up with three versions of a six-story building with first-floor retail and parking above.

Elmhurst resident Frank McGhee liked the idea of having second-floor office space in the building, but still thought the development would be great for the city.

Not all agreed, though. Later Monday at a Development, Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, resident Jack Schuster voiced his opposition to the six-story building.

The City Council on May 19 approved an ordinance granting a conditional use permit and associated variations for the project.

A second open house will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at City Hall. Mayor Steve Morley told community members the city is looking for input on design elements like the use of certain materials or arches on the building.

"We're trying to get down to some of those details," Morley said.

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Next open house

What: Addison Avenue Parking Deck design open house

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Monday

Where: City Hall, 209 N. York St.

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