An Arlington Heights panel Wednesday advanced scaled-back plans for the Arlington 425 downtown redevelopment that's stalled amid the pandemic and financing troubles.
Plan revisions for the $150 million, three-building residential and commercial campus on a long-vacant block -- which would be the largest development in some two decades in town -- received the unanimous endorsement of the village's advisory plan commission.
The commission's review during a 3½-hour public hearing held virtually Wednesday night follows positive recommendations from the design commission Tuesday and housing commission earlier in March. The village board, which approved developer Norwood Builders' larger plans in May 2019, will have final say on the plan changes at a date still to be determined.
"This project is so important to this neighborhood," plan commission Chairman Terry Ennes said. "That piece of land has been sitting vacant for way too long. This development is going to have such a huge impact and benefit to the village."
In an effort to make the project more economically feasible, the developer has proposed reducing the number of residences from 361 to 319 and cutting the amount of commercial space from 43,800 square feet to 7,500 square feet.
Specifically, the latest plans call for removal of a proposed a 13-story, 125-unit apartment building on Highland Avenue that included six stories of parking, and building only a four- or five-story parking garage instead.
To replace some of those lost residential units, the developer would add a floor each to two other buildings on the 3-acre site.
A nine-story, 182-unit apartment building with commercial space on the bottom two floors on Campbell Street would become a 10-story building with 26 more residences in place of the second-floor commercial space. There'd also be less retail on the streetside.
A four-story, 54-unit residential building along Chestnut Avenue would grow to a five-story, 85-unit building.
Despite a decrease in overall project density, some neighbors objected to the two taller buildings -- especially the one on Chestnut that will be across the street from single-family homes.
"Now to have all that be reconsidered because it's more convenient for the developer, it's frustrating for the residents," said Kari Dwyer, who lives on Chestnut.
Plan commission members agreed with the village community development department staff, which determined the heights were "compatible and harmonious" with the area. The taller buildings are permitted under village zoning codes, and the downtown master plan calls for heights of 6 to 8 stories.
"It's not like the downtown has just developed overnight. It's been there for decades," Commissioner Bruce Green said. "Somewhere you have to make the transition from the downtown to the residential area."