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Luxury apartments, commercial space proposed for former Giesche Shoes store

Glen Ellyn plan commissioners to review concept plans at May 10 meeting

GLEN ELLYN – A new proposal for the former Giesche Shoes store at 400 N. Main St. in Glen Ellyn calls for the building to be razed to make way for a five-story complex that would include luxury apartments, commercial space and a two-level parking deck.

The Glen Ellyn Plan Commission will conduct a pre-application meeting on the plans at 7 p.m. May 10 in the Galligan board room on the third floor of the Glen Ellyn Civic Center, 535 Duane St. Concept plans call for a mixed-use development on the Giesche site and the adjacent village-owned parking lot.

"GSP Development has submitted an offer for the Giesche site," Planning and Development Director Staci Hulseberg said. "This is completely different from the other group, who was just going to reuse the existing building. They were going to do a banquet facility and a couple of restaurants. The project is more similar to what Opus was proposing for the property."

Nick Roberge, owner of Maize + Mash restaurant, located near the former Giesche Shoes store, last year presented concept plans to plan commissioners to turn the building into a complex that would include a restaurant, cafe and event space. Plans were to reuse the former shoe store rather than tear it down.

"They decided not to move forward," Hulseberg said.

During a Nov. 9, 2017, Plan Commission meeting, business owners had voiced concerns the proposed complex would only worsen the parking shortage in downtown Glen Ellyn. Prior to that proposal, The Opus Group had plans to tear down the building to make way for a five-story, mixed-use complex at the site.

That project would have included 9,040 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and 110 upper-floor, one- to three-bedroom apartments. Also in the proposal was a three-level parking deck on Hillside Avenue and Main Street with 557 spaces.

Residents were concerned with the scale of the project, as well as increased traffic and safety issues.

The principals involved in GSP Development are Larry Debb and John Kosich. Concept plans for the complex call for the construction of 107 luxury apartments on the second floor and above, Hulseberg said.

The first floor would contain about 5,300 square feet of commercial space, she said.

"They'd also have some accessory uses for the residential properties, like a workout room. That would also be on the first floor as well," Hulseberg said. "There would also be a parking deck in the building."

The first floor of the parking deck would include 147 public parking stalls, she said. In addition, the deck would include 142 spaces on the second level that would serve those residents living in the apartments.

Currently, there are 134 spaces in the Main Street parking lot, Hulseberg said.

"So we get an extra 13 parking spaces," she said.

Village staff will be discussing the latest plans for the former Giesche Shoes building with plan commissioners at their meeting.

"The Comprehensive Plan, the downtown plan, the village's streetscape and parking plan, all of those plans basically say that the village is interested in some sort of mixed-use redevelopment that includes a parking garage and residential units above and retail or commercial on the first floor," Hulseberg said. "The concept of mixed-use development on these properties in the downtown is something that we believe is very desirable for downtown Glen Ellyn, in keeping with what the long-range plans have been saying for quite some time."

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