First Downtown Hotel

Downtown Naperville could welcome its first hotel. At the latest Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, commissioners learned more about proposed changes to the Water Street District. Those include a 130 room hotel, more than 60 apartment units, and a 550 space parking deck are all included in the proposal. It was the third time in four years Water Street District, LLC has gone before the Plan Commission.

“In our view, a downtown such as Naperville’s is either always growing or it’s always dying and it never stays static,” said Bruno Bottarelli, Managing Director for Marquette Companies.

The Water Street District is the south area of downtown, between the Municipal Center and Main Street. The newest draft would build a Holiday Inn Express on the land.

“It’s an upscale version of what people normally would perceive as a Holiday Inn hotel,” said Bottarelli.

But the idea of a 90-foot-tall building downtown, nearly 30 feet higher than others in the area, has some residents upset.

“Allowing this kind of height and density along the Riverwalk will forever diminish it as the crown jewel of our downtown,” said Bob Fischer, Vice President of the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation.

“Unfortunately, it’s a well intended development and the hotel is a very nice feature but I feel it’s way, way too dense,” said Kathy Benson, a Naperville resident.

Part of their concern is the building could create shadows negatively impacting the Riverwalk, which would be extended under the proposal. Others worry about the traffic from the additional cars in the parking garage and didn’t like a proposed solution to add another stoplight on Aurora Avenue.

“I would think what you’re going to do is just have a longer backup on Washington,” said Plan Commissioner Janet Trowbridge.

Not everyone is against the plan.

“I’m sure once it’s done it will be a wonderful project,” said Don Avjean, a Naperville resident.

The project would also include office and retail space. The Plan Commission will continue to discuss the Water Street District on July 18th. If passed, the ultimate decision will be left to city council.


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