Old Zion school building might go condo

Local developer wants to convert school into 12 age-targeted two- and three-bedroom units

The old Zion Lutheran School will be converted to condos if the Hinsdale Plan Commission and Hinsdale Village Board approve the proposal.

Holladay Properties Services Midwest Inc. wants to buy the existing two-story building at 125 S. Vine St. to create 12 age-targeted lifestyle housing units. The project is tentatively named Vine Street Station.

"We're really excited to be here tonight," Hinsdale resident Drew Mitchell, vice president of Holladay Properties in Clarendon Hills, told trustees at their Feb. 15 meeting.

Mitchell said he first began thinking about the building after District 181 considered it as administrative office space.

"I thought, 'What could be there? I just don't want to see two single-family home lots,' " he said.

Mitchell said his company loves to work on "transformative developments" that salvage old buildings. The firm also has completed several new construction projects in neighboring towns, including Burlington Station in Clarendon Hills.

"There are so many empty-nesters that are looking for product like this," he said.

The concept plans calls for two three-bedroom units and 10 two-bedroom units with underground parking and an elevator. Outdoor amenities on the .61-acre site include a courtyard area for residents and a pocket park open to the public. Twenty-two parking spaces would be available in the underground garage. The units, which would range from about 1,200 to 1,600 square feet, likely would sell for $600,000 to $900,000, Mitchell said.

Trustees seemed receptive to the plan.

"I believe there is huge demand for this type of project," Trustee Luke Stifflear said.

Village President Tom Cauley said he didn't see any issues with density, parking or height, but added he would want the village to approve the homeowners association agreement and indicated the units should be age-restricted, not age-targeted.

"We hate unnecessary handcuffs," Mitchell said.

"We love unnecessary handcuffs," Cauley replied.

Holladay will need a text amendment and special-use permit to allow lifestyle housing units in the 0-1 district and a major adjustment to the Zion Lutheran Church planned unit development to pull the site from that PUD, along with approval of a detailed plan and rezoning of the parcel from IB institutional buildings to O-1 office.

The village board will vote March 1 whether to refer the proposal to the plan commission. Plan commissioners will hold a public hearing on the concept plan and make a recommendation back to the village board. If trustees approve the concept plan, the plan commission will hold a public hearing on the official rezoning request.

"We are patient and willing to spend the time to get a project right," Mitchell said.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean