Vine Street Station project pushes ahead

Hinsdale trustees on Tuesday referred to the village’s plan commission a proposal to convert the historic former Zion Lutheran School building at 125 S. Vine St. into 12 age-restricted condominiums.

“We all agree that we like to see reused buildings, historically significant buildings in town,” Cauley said following a presentation from representatives of Clarendon Hills-based developer Holladay Properties.

The action is the latest step in the Vine Street Station concept of changing the 108-year-old two-story structure into condos for residents age 55 and older. The plan first came before the board in February of last year. In August trustees approved an amendment to the village’s zoning code to allow lifestyle housing as a special use and planned development in the O-1 office district and also signed off on the concept.

This time the developer is seeking a map amendment to change the entire .61-acre site to O-1 as well as approval for the exterior appearance and site plan, for the tentative and final plat of subdivision and for a sign permit.

Drew Mitchell, vice president of Holladay and a Hinsdale resident, said the firm has spent most of this year working out the details of its plan. Some changes to the original concept include eliminating the loading dock and making all the units two-bedroom by downsizing two envisioned three-bedroom condos.

Last August officials estimated the units would measure about 1,200 square feet and sell for $600,000 to $900,000. Amenities include a courtyard area for residents, and a public pocket park has also been considered as part of the project.

Mitchell said the firm has been fielding numerous inquiries from prospective buyers even before there’s something to sell.

“We’re unusually getting requests to combine units, which would have implications on parking,” he said. “It’s really hard to be negotiating with a potential homeowner when we still have a process to work through municipally.”

Vine Street Station would have a 22-space underground parking garage, and an elevator would be installed.

There was some discussion about the age-restricted plan for the project and compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act. The tentative bylaws call for the building to be 80-percent age-restricted, which falls short of Village President Tom Cauley’s vision.

“I’d like it to be 100 percent, but if there’s some legal reason why it can’t be, certainly we’ll follow the law,” Cauley said. “We want as much of it to be age-restricted as possible under the federal law.”

Second Street will remain a one-way street according to the plan, and the street’s angled parking spots will be changed to parallel spaces.

Mitchell said bringing Vine Street Station to reality is “a tricky process” but believes it’s worthwhile.

“This is a pretty exciting project from the standpoint that we’re salvaging a historical structure,” Mitchell said.

Cauley agreed.

“We really appreciate what you’re doing here,” he remarked.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean