The Committee on Design has reviewed initial plans for a mixed-use development at 3950 N Damen Avenue and 3959 N Lincoln Avenue in North Center. Located on the six-corner intersection with W Irving Park Road, the two building proposal will replace a large parking lot and a MB Financial drive-thru bank west of Damen Avenue, as well redevelop and expand the existing 5/3 Bank building east of Lincoln Avenue. Developers CRG and Ravine Park Partners are working with local architecture firm Lamar Johnson Collaborative on the new design.
Anchoring the eastern portion of the development is the 53,634-square-foot corner office building, rising 65 feet at five stories, which will have its ground floor redeveloped. Two new residential wings will be built matching the existing height, a smaller one along Lincoln Avenue, and a larger L-shaped addition to the east replacing a small garden which will be rebuilt as a raised outdoor deck between the two. A unit count for this part of the project is currently unknown, but there will be a 5,000-square-foot retail space occupying the main street corner, a new lobby with a fitness room, and a 21-vehicle garage under the outdoor deck in the rear.
Nearby, the lots at 3950 N Damen Avenue will hold a new five- to seven-story building reaching up to 82 feet at its tallest point. After studying the density of many of the city’s six-corner type intersections, the architects worked on many iterations of the massing, including a singular mid-rise, before arriving at the proposed S-shaped low-rise that will better fit with the surrounding context. With multiple outdoor plazas and an angled end that frames the aforementioned bank building, the new structure will need to include a drive-thru for 5/3 Bank as part of the pending land agreement for the project.
This led to a very vehicle-heavy ground floor which will include a 78-vehicle parking lot with a banking drive-thru on the southern end, and a new 3,500-square-foot bank, 1,700-square-foot retail space, large lobby with fitness center, and a plaza that hugs the corner for improved pedestrian visibility. The floors above will hold 176 apartments consisting of 70 studios, 33 one-bedrooms, and 73 units split between two- and three-bedroom layouts, and while a final form hasn’t been selected, some units will have access to private inset balconies and all will have access to multiple outdoor decks.
Comments from the committee focused on the large amount of parking being provided so close to transit, with the response being that it mainly comes from the requirements needed for the bank. Other comments included worries on the vehicular flow from Damen Avenue to the alley, and the overall massing size adjacent to the intersection, with committee members encouraging the design team to further study dense European developments serving a similar use. Some words were also exchanged on the development of the facade which will be formally revealed at a later date.
Future residents will be able to enjoy plenty of public transportation nearby including bus service for CTA Routes 50 and 80 on site, and the CTA Brown Line at Irving Park station via a three-minute walk. Further work will be needed on both structures to arrive at a more formal proposal to bring to City Council for the appropriate rezoning approvals, at the time there is no established construction timeline nor potential groundbreaking date that has been announced.