Winnetka, News

Newest One Winnetka project is all but done deal

After more than a decade’s worth of discussion, hundreds of hours of deliberations and dozens of public meetings, the plan for one of the most prized redevelopment opportunities in New Trier Township is all but set in stone. 

Winnetka trustees during their Thursday, March 22 meeting unanimously approved a new four-story mixed use planned development in the heart of the village. The large-scale redevelopment project, commonly referred to as One Winnetka, will give new life to a series of vacant properties along the southeast corner of Elm Street and Lincoln Avenue. 

The plan trustees approved March 22 closely mirrors what was amended for the council in early 2023 when the proposal gained steam. The One Winnetka development site has been the subject of several project pitches for the better part of a decade.

The pending plan calls for no more than 59 residential units, 20,955 square feet of commercial space, and a total of 152 parking spaces, including 39 at ground level for the commercial uses and 113 on the underground level for the residential uses, as previously reported by The Record

Jon Talty, chairman of OKW Architects, One Winnetka’s designer, said the apartment options in the building will start at one-bedroom-plus-den and range up to three-bedroom-plus-den. Nineteen units are planned for the second level, 21 for the third and 19 for the fourth.

Building layout from two different angles.

The units will all be arranged in a courtyard shape around an “amenitized terrace” for the residents along with an additional amenity space that is being vetted by the development team, Talty said. 

Unit sizes will range from approximately 1,100 to 1,800  square feet, according to Talty. The building will also feature a 4,600-square-foot residential lobby.  

Newest developments

David Schoon, Winnetka’s director of community development, said the two major changes to the proposal since council’s first review are the some design elements and the allowance of financial and medical uses on the ground floor. 

Schoon added, however, that project developer Murphy Development Group agreed to place limits on the amount of ground-floor retail space that can be used for medical and financial services, Schoon noted. 

No medical use or financial service use can be located in the northwest corner space, which is roughly 2,500 square feet. Additionally, these two uses cannot make up more than 50 percent of the total floor area and no individual financial use can be larger than 6,500 square feet and no individual medical use greater than 3,250. 

Following the council’s project review in January of last year, both Winnetka’s Design Review Board and the Planned Development Commission stamped their approvals on the project. 

From that process, Talty said the development team behind One Winnetka reached a better end result. 

“I really believe from the bottom of my heart that the public process we went through … made this a better building,” Talty said. “This is better today than it was in January of 2023. 

“I take great pride in it. We all do. It was a collective effort and I think ultimately the architecture, the planning, all of this makes for a better building. I think it’s going to live beautifully both during the daytime and at night in our village.” 

Trustees glad to find ‘the answer’

A view of One Winnetka as proposed along Elm Street.

Winnetka trustees, several of whom have reviewed multiple rounds of failed plans for the site, made their support for this version of the project clear. Board members also lauded the development team for their flexibility throughout the review process. 

“I think the development team should be commended for listening and adjusting,” Trustee Bob Dearborn said. “I think this is the answer.”

Village President Chris Rintz shared similar sentiments, saying that the council couldn’t have asked for any more from the developer. Rintz described the review process as “very thoughtful” and “additive all the way around.”

A trustee since 2008, Rintz also said he recalled reviewing and voting on the first pitch for the subject properties, while expressing his satisfaction that a plan for the site is finally moving forward. 

“In total, I think it’s going to be a fantastic addition to this community and I think you will be well welcomed by the members of this village because we are all so tired of looking at what’s been there now for years and years and years,” Rintz said. “It’s just amazing.

“We’ve seen a lot of ideas and I think this is the best idea I’ve seen for this site and the best solution,” he later added. 

The last remaining step for One Winnetka is a final plan review from village staff and the council where officials will review the development agreement for the site. Trustees could finalize the project as soon as their next meeting in April.

The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.

Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.

Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.

martin carlino
Martin Carlino

Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.

Related Stories