44-Unit TOD Building Proposed at an Abandoned Drive-Through in Bucktown

A rendering of the proposed building at 1920 N Milwaukee Ave. Image: Vequity/YouTube
A rendering of the proposed building at 1920 N Milwaukee Ave. Image: Vequity

A proposal for a transit-oriented development in Bucktown is going before the Chicago Plan Commission for approval this Thursday. River North-based developer Vequity wants to build a six-story residential tower with minimal parking at the southeast corner of Milwaukee and Western avenues in Bucktown, right next door to the Western stop on the Blue Line’s O’Hare branch.

Vequity needs the Plan Commission to approve a zoning change from the current manufacturing and low-density business designation to slightly higher-density mixed-use zoning. A shuttered title loan store has occupied the property for a few years. Before that it was a Checkers drive-through burger joint.

The proposal calls for 44 apartments but only ten car parking spaces, plus 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, or about three shops. The revised TOD ordinance passed last year eliminated the minimum parking requirement for residential buildings within two blocks of rapid transit stations.

Street view of 1920 N Milwaukee Ave
An abandoned title loan store, formerly a drive-through fast food restaurant, occupies a site that may become a mixed-use TOD building. Image: Google Street View

Vequity’s sales video (below) points out the fact that a Bloomingdale Trail access point is a block away. It also highlights how busy the intersection is, noting that over 6,000 people use the Blue Line station daily, while over 43,000 motorists and 6,000 bicyclists pass by each day.

By restoring the urban street wall at the corner and adding over 50 new residents, the new building would help make the intersection more vibrant. At six stories, it would be one level higher than the tallest nearby building, located across the street. Adding housing and retail density, without adding a lot of new parking, will make the neighborhood less car-dependent. Hopefully, pressure from neighbors won’t result in a shorter building with more parking spots.

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