The much-discussed Water Street project made another appearance at the recent City Council meeting. The Marquette Properties, who originally received approval last year, was seeking the green light on several changes to its three building, 2.4-acre campus.
The modifications include increasing the height of the buildings to hide rooftop mechanical units, a banquet facility, two meeting rooms and enlarging the floor size for the fifth story restaurant. The project is located between the Riverwalk and Aurora Avenue and Webster and Main streets.
Bob Fischer, President of the Naperville Area Home Owners Confederation raised concerns about the size of the building. He said, “Since all the developer seems to want to do this time is take. How about giving something back? I like to suggest the council asks for the top floor to be taken off or a middle floor to be taken out of the theatre building. This would help parking needs some and better compliment the neighboring township building by no longer looming over it and a sign that Water Street is about fitting in with the community and not overwhelming it.”
The developer pointed out that Marquette Properties had already removed a floor in 2013, and that the height added by screening walls was necessary to shield heating and cooling units, but would not affect the rooflines of the buildings.
The addition of the banquet facility increased concerns about parking and traffic. The plan includes a total of 400 public parking spaces and 120 for the hotel, though parking models drop the public parking to 19 spaces if the hotel and new dining space are filled to capacity. Valet parking was offered as part of the solution, which would include leasing parking from District 203 and Naper Settlement.
The Council voted 6 to 2 in favor of directing staff to develop several variances to move the project forward, with a groundbreaking planned for December.
City staff is also recommending a stoplight at the corner of Aurora and Webster as well as plans to expand Aurora at Washington Street.
There could be more new changes ahead for the nightlife scene in Naperville. Officials shared information about ID scanners and their effectiveness in identifying underage and troublesome patrons, noting that they had been useful for a downtown bar in the past.
Opponents of the scanners worried that they could lead to legal issues if police asked to access the data.
Council agreed that more research on the topic would be necessary before making any proposals for their use.
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