The developer who has proposed a new 14-unit apartment building at 8845 Burlington Ave., across the street from the downtown Brookfield Metra station, was given the green light on July 26 to move forward after village trustees voted 5-0 to award a zoning variance for the project.
Developer Jason Huang told the Landmark that once he obtains building permits, the building should be complete and ready for occupancy within seven to eight months. First the existing four-unit building and garage that presently occupy the property at the southeast corner of Burlington and Forest avenues must be demolished. Huang must also get a permit for that.
But, he said, work on the new development ought to begin sometime later this year.
“We’ll be moving ground before winter comes,” Huang said.
The winter also won’t affect the pace of construction of the new building, because it will be built offsite in modules, which can simply be brought to Brookfield for assembly.
The new building will have one- and two-bedroom rental units, which will be marketed to young professionals who are looking for an easy commute to downtown Chicago via Metra and within walking distance of restaurants, bars and other amenities.
The development needed one zoning variance, for building type, because the zoning district where the property sits doesn’t allow general apartment buildings by right. The zoning district calls for townhomes, but the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval after the developer’s architect tweaked the design to give the façade more of townhome aspect, with several ground-floor units having their own private entrances.
The development proposal had come under fire by both neighbors and some village trustees over what they believe is inadequate onsite parking. The development will provide 13 parking spaces for the 14-unit building.
The code calls for a building of that size to have 17.5 vehicle parking spaces, but the developer was able to reduce that number by providing 27 long-term onsite bicycle parking spaces.
Initially, the developer included 11 vehicle parking spaces and 39 bicycle spaces, but he had the plan revised after neighbor outcry. Brookfield trustees subsequently asked the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission to consider revising the code providing developments in the station areas bike parking credits.
However, the developer was using an existing provision in the village’s code and as such did not need a zoning variance for parking.
Brookfield trustees Brian Conroy and Edward Cote both questioned the lack of at least a 1-to-1 unit/parking space ratio, but in the end the development sailed through unopposed. Cote did not cast a vote on July 26; he was out of town attending to a death in his family.
Conroy said that while he remained convinced the development needed at least 14 parking spaces plus one handicapped parking space to meet its residents’ needs, he was not going to impede construction over it.
“I believe we have to act in what is the greater good of the community,” Conroy said before casting his vote in favor on July 26. “And while I see that parking’s a potential issue when I look at what’s at the property now versus what they are proposing … I wouldn’t want to block this for two parking spots.”
The property was purchased in March for $432,500 by Kang Xin LLC Series 5, whose manager is listed by the Illinois Secretary of State as Ting Heng Huang of Indianapolis. Jason Huang has said the Brookfield building will remain held by the family, which will manage the rental property.
Huang has also said he is hoping to build other transit-oriented developments in the village station areas, though he declined to say exactly where at this time. But, he affirmed that the village’s zoning modernization effort and wish to attract higher-density development near its train stations drew him to Brookfield.
“It’s pretty much 100-percent [the reason],” Huang said. “Before it was pretty difficult to do anything. Now we’re focusing on the train line.”