River Square Renovations Denied

River Square won’t be getting a facelift any time soon.

About the Petitioner

At the most recent Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the group denied the petitioner Mid-America Asset Management’s request to paint the 59,000-square-foot retail and office building at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Washington Street.

Last year Clarion Partners purchased the building and partnered with Mid-America Asset to revitalize River Square’s look. Currently Clarion has four vacancies there and wants draw in new tenants.

“Despite marketing efforts to local, regional, and national tenants, we have not been able to secure one new lease under Clarion’s ownership,” said Marget Graham, principal with Mid-America Asset. “We’ve had numerous tenant tours and the dated appearance of the property has been commonly cited as the theme for declining the site.”

The Renovation Plans

The plan to paint the red brick exterior to a light grey, remove awnings, and update signage and lighting would cost over $700,000.

Commission’s Concerns

The commission’s major concern with the project is that it goes against the 2011 Downtown Design Standards, which state that paint should not be applied to a masonry surface that was not previously painted.

“I imagine if your architect were directed to come back with a plan that was more consistent with the city’s Downtown Design Standards you would have the success that you’re looking for,” said Commission Chair Bruce Hanson.

They also had issues with maintenance of the paint and the inconsistency the plans have with the rest of downtown.

“As much as I want to see a contemporized look there, I just don’t think that this is the right solution versus resurfacing,” added Commissioner Manas Athanikar. “I understand that there’s an economic cost to that, but in terms of consistency with the esthetic. So therefore I won’t be supporting this.”

The group made a unanimous vote against the proposal.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.

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