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updated: 4/9/2018 10:51 AM

Houses could be coming to Naperville parcel that Chicago Symphony considered buying

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  • Naperville is set to consider rezoning the 58 acres north of the Nokia site near the intersection of Naperville and Warrenville roads to residential for construction of a subdivision by contract purchaser K. Hovnanian Homes. The city council is set to host a preliminary discussion of the topic during a workshop at 6 p.m. Monday in the Naperville Municipal Center at 400 S. Eagle St.

    Naperville is set to consider rezoning the 58 acres north of the Nokia site near the intersection of Naperville and Warrenville roads to residential for construction of a subdivision by contract purchaser K. Hovnanian Homes. The city council is set to host a preliminary discussion of the topic during a workshop at 6 p.m. Monday in the Naperville Municipal Center at 400 S. Eagle St.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • The 58 acres north of the Nokia building in Naperville is zoned for office, research and industrial use, but the city council is set to consider whether it should be designated residential instead. The land is near a pond, Danada Forest Preserve and a few small subdivisions.

    The 58 acres north of the Nokia building in Naperville is zoned for office, research and industrial use, but the city council is set to consider whether it should be designated residential instead. The land is near a pond, Danada Forest Preserve and a few small subdivisions.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

A 58-acre site north of the Nokia property in Naperville never became part of the DuPage County Forest Preserve and never became a summer home for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

But now the Naperville City Council plans to conduct a preliminary discussion about whether it can become a mix of multifamily and free-standing housing.

The land, south and east of Danada Forest Preserve, is tucked behind a large Nokia building at the intersection of Naperville and Warrenville roads, just north of I-88. It is zoned for office, research or industrial use, but city council member Judith Brodhead said the panel will consider whether a residential designation might be appropriate during a workshop set for 6 p.m. Monday, April 9, in meeting room B at the Naperville municipal center, 400 S. Eagle St.

Bill Novack, director of transportation, engineering and development, said the meeting will be an informal one, procedurally speaking, for the council to give guidance to the contract purchaser of the site, K. Hovnanian Homes. Instead of buying the land and then meeting with a council that might be unwilling to amend current zoning, Novack said this will allow the home construction company to learn if officials are open to a change before the purchase is finalized.

Nothing discussed Monday will be binding, he said.

Attorney Russ Whitaker said K. Hovnanian has designs for the site that include multifamily housing closest to the Nokia property, then townhouses or duplexes and single-family houses farther north, closer to the forest preserve and other nearby homes.

The development could take the place of vacant land and a large parking lot, which Whitaker described as "in a state of disrepair."

The meeting will be the first public discussion of the land since its potential use as a site for a Chicago Symphony Orchestra summer concert series fell through after talks in 2014.

The symphony at the time said its consideration of the site was in the early stages, and despite drawing interest from some officials in DuPage County and Naperville, the venue never materialized.

Environmental activists raised concerns about a music venue's potential to disrupt a rookery of 150 great blue heron nests in the nearby forest preserve, and city officials chose not to seek a $12 million state grant to help with purchasing the property from then-owner Alcatel Lucent.

Now owned by Nokia, the land sits north of the company's 1 million-square-foot office building built in the 1960s. It's near a pond, the forest preserve and a small unincorporated subdivision.

Before the symphony considered the site, the DuPage County Forest Preserve District attempted to buy it. But forest officials gave up their bid in 2011, when they couldn't meet the asking price.

"It's kind of hidden back there," Novack said about the available land. "It doesn't have great frontage."

A Nokia spokeswoman declined to comment on the property, saying the company is not disclosing anything about it publicly.