The owner of a 26th Street grocery store property in North Riverside wants to transform it into a mixed-use building designed by a Chicago architecture studio that preaches sustainable design principles.

Tonight at 7 p.m., the North Riverside Zoning Board of Appeals will consider Ricardo Martinez’s request to allow him to add a 5,000-square-foot second story addition to the store at 7918 26th St., occupied now by Cozzi Closeouts.

Architectural renderings provided to the village’s Building Department indicate that the building is in for a state-of-the-art renovation. The proposed design is decidedly contemporary and will be, according to Martinez’s zoning application. “energy-efficient and incorporate sustainable construction” methods.

Martinez has enlisted Element Design Studio as the project’s architectural firm. Jofrey Quintanar, one of the firm’s principals, is the lead architect.

“The philosophy of our firm is that sustainability is imperative,” Quintanar said. “We always try to implement sustainable technology and mentality.”

Quintanar said that the design, which proposes incorporating brick, wood rainscreen clip siding and corrugated metal panels “is trying to show respect” to the older buildings in the neighborhood “but show some modern element to help that zone be in the 21st century.”

“Overall I think this is going to have a positive impact to the community,” Quintanar said.

Martinez, who owns a Berkeley-based trucking company, purchased the property in September 2009 for $350,000. The property was being foreclosed on at the time, according to court records.

Cozzi Closeouts, which signed a lease with the previous owner, will remain in the building until July 31, according to the zoning application on file with the village.

Martinez said he’d like to open up a Whole Foods-inspired organic fruit and vegetable market in the first floor grocery space. The new second-story addition would be office space, according to the plans.

Before the project can move forward, however, Martinez needs to win a zoning variation from the village related to parking. The building has a 16-vehicle surface parking lot immediately west of the building.

By building a second story, the property will need 22 spaces to meet the code. Martinez will be asking the zoning board to consider allowing the business to use street spaces on Keystone Avenue as part of the equation.

Village Pub looks to expand

Also tonight the North Riverside Zoning Board of Appeals and Plan Commission will hear from the owners of Tipster’s Village Pub, 8839 Cermak Road, who are seeking two zoning variations that will allow the construction of an addition to the west side of the building.

According to plans submitted by owners Fiore J. Buccieri Jr. and Frank Nadile, the centerpiece of the project is a one-story, 41-by-18-foot party room addition with a seating capacity of 50.

In addition, the plans call for the addition of a 27-by-18-foot outdoor café area directly north of the party room with enough seating for 44 people. Plans also indicate a future restroom addition for the party room, but it does not appear that the restrooms will be built at this time.

The owners are asking for variations since they are proposing an addition to a legal non-conforming building and because the addition would require more parking. The construction of the addition will eliminate room currently used for parking by the business.

The Cook County Assessor’s Web site indicates that the addition would be built on a parcel belonging to the property directly west, which is also owned by Village Pub’s owners.

Village Administrator Guy Belmonte said the plan is to subdivide that parcel, which includes a small building housing an insurance business and combine the eastern 18 feet with the Village Pub parcels to the east. Plans show that there would still be a distance of 45 feet between the addition and the insurance building.