Winnetka, News

Real estate firm to demo Green Bay Road building, build mixed-use development

Housing continues to expand on the North Shore after the Winnetka Village Council approved permits and variations for a mixed-use building on Green Bay Road.

The 5-0 vote to approve the project — with Trustee Andrew Cripe absent — occurred after minimal discussion at the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

David Schoon, Winnetka’s community development director, said the property at 564 Green Bay Road will be developed into a three-story structure with real estate company Engel and Völkers Chicago North Shore occupying the main floor and residential apartments taking the upper two levels.

Engel and Völkers is seeking to relocate from its current office on Chestnut Street to the building, which is flanked by Green Bay Cafe to the north and a four-story office building to the south.

Schoon said the development will offer two 1,400-square-foot apartments, one occupying each of the upper levels. Additionally, the plans call for a roof deck for resident use.

The current building — which most recently housed the French Institute of the North Shore until it closed in 2021 — will be demolished.

The new development will replace the current building that most recently was home to the French Institute of the North Shore.

The board approved a 3-foot setback from the rear property line. Normally, the setback must be 10 feet.

“Due to the angle of the rear lot line, the proposed rear yard setback does increase to 6 feet at the southwest corner of the building,” Schoon said, adding that the new building would have vehicular access from the alley.

The other variance approved by the board concerned parking. Schoon explained that because of the size of the apartment units, three off-street parking spaces would be required by village code. The initial proposal called for a garage with two ground-level parking spaces plus a parking lift to accommodate a third vehicle; however, Schoon said the applicant withdrew the plan because village zoning does not recognize lifts as fulfilling the off-street parking requirement.

This led the applicants to instead seek the variance that would only require two spaces.

Although parking for the real estate office was not one of the requested variances, Trustee Rob Apatoff asked if there were potential issues with available spaces.

Schoon said that fewer brokers are conducting in-person businesses in offices, and the only concern would be if the office had an all-person staff meeting. But he said those meetings are more frequently done virtually.

Karen Arenson, co-owner of Engel and Völkers Chicago North Shore, said that the firm’s employeees “love being up here” and wanted to remain in Winnetka.

“We want to contribute even more to the village,” she said, adding that the office currently rents their property and thought it made more sense to purchase their own.

“We think it will be a wonderful contribution to the village,” Arenson said of the new building.

Trustees praised the new development.

“I think it’s a great project and I’m excited to see more,” Trustee Kim Handler said.

Village President Chris Rintz called the new rental properties “another step in the right direction for our community.”

“I do think it’s an attractive building,” he said. “I think it’s a nice replacement.”

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Peter Kaspari

Peter Kaspari is a blogger and a freelance reporter. A 10-year veteran of journalism, he has written for newspapers in both Iowa and Illinois, including spending multiple years covering crime and courts. Most recently, he served as the editor for The Lake Forest Leader. Peter is also a longtime resident of Wilmette and New Trier High School alumnus.

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