A Look Back at the Water Street Proposal

Just when it seemed like a proposal for a multi-purpose development along Water Street was about to tank, the city council decided to hold off on a vote until the new year.

Marquette Companies first brought their petition before the Planning and Zoning Commission in the spring, which called for 2.4 acres of land along Water Street to be redeveloped into a 90-foot Holiday Inn Express, offices, restaurants, retailers, and apartments.

After several months debating the proposal, the commission gave it thumbs up for a positive recommendation for city council in August.

“The uses for the project are outstanding,” said Commissioner Kevin Coyne. “I think both the hotel and apartments are needed downtown and will be very successful there.”

But several more months of back and forth discussion at numerous council meetings has prolonged the potential development into the new year.

Even with the hotel height dropped down to 74 feet and the removal of an apartment complex, residents continue to question the scope of the project and its impact on parking and safety.

“It’s so tall. It’s so dense. It’s going to generate so much traffic,” said Thom Higgins, Associate Director for the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation. “We have some very significant concerns of what the impact would be for all of us that just try to get through the downtown area on a daily basis.”

In an unexpected turn of events, on December 5th the council voted 5 to 4 in favor of bringing the proposal back to the Planning and Zoning Commission in January.

“It needs to be done right by the developer. It needs to be done right by the people that live here now and those that are coming after us because if we get it wrong there’s no eraser for this,” said Councilman Grant Wehrli.“

But at their latest meeting on December 18th, President of Marquette Companies Nick Ryan convinced the council to reconsider.

“We believe that what we’ll put forward will be widely accepted by you,” said Nick Ryan, President of Marquette Companies. “It’s a great project and we’d like to keep it at this level.”

While the future of the project still seems murky, Marquette Companies hopes to return in the new year with a solid resolution that will appeal to both the council and community.

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