The former St. Barbara’s School could be converted into a multi-family building with 23 residential units.
The developer is a company named The Windemere LLC, which proposes to turn the vacant elementary school into a residential building with 2- and 3-bedroom units, documents submitted to the village showed.
The Skokie-based developer plans to maintain the original structure and exterior architectural features of the 9,091-square-foot building. On the first and second floors, classrooms would be turned into individual apartments, mostly preserving the existing layout. The lower level, which is an open space, would be changed to match the layout on the other floors, building plans show.
The building at the intersection of Windemere and Prairie Avenues is currently owned by the Archdiocese of Chicago. It is currently located in a single-family residential zone, but under a 2021 zoning amendment, the village could approve a special use permit for adaptive reuse, allowing the property to be used as a multi-family building. The developer plans to acquire the property if the village approves its request for a special use permit and ultimately, the redevelopment proposal.
In 2021, the village amended the zoning code to allow existing buildings such as churches and schools to be used as multi-family buildings when they are located in single-family residential areas.
The developer is also seeking approval of some code variances because the building does not meet some village code requirements regarding minimum green space, maximum building coverage and required parking spaces.
The building covers 41.6% of the lot, 1.6% more than the maximum approved by the village. It also has about 2,400 square feet of green space, which the developer plans to increase to about 2,900. Yet, it would still be about 26% below the minimum green space required by the village. The apartment complex would also have 30 off-street parking spaces, 16 spaces less than required to meet the village’s requirement of two parking spaces per residential unit.
Modifying the building to comply with these code requirements would require demolition or significant modifications to the existing building, the developer said.
Converting the shuttered school into a multi-family development aligns with Brookfield’s plan to encourage diverse types of housing within the village. The property’s location, close to the Metra train station and local shops, could also attract potential residents while providing economic benefits to the village.
Brookfield’s planning and zoning commission recommended the proposal for approval at its Oct. 26 meeting, when a public hearing about the project was also held. The proposal will be presented to the board of trustees at the next village meeting on Nov. 13.