Bucktown Community Organization ends 2011-2012 year with new officers and presentation of proposed North Ave. development


Steve Dilenger, Philip Edison, Cheryl Cohen-Bugner, Demetrius Simpson, Eva Bergant and Steve Jensen

A discussion and an election, ended the 2011-2012 year for the Bucktown Community Organization (BCO) Tues., Nov. 20, in Club Lucky, 1824 W. Wabansia St.

At the opening of the meeting, outgoing Pres. Eva Bergant introduced Philip Edison, BCO's VP of Zoning & Planning. He gave a brief description of development projects in the area before introducing a proposed transit-oriented mixed-use development at 1720 W. North Ave.


Concept drawing of 1720 W. North Ave.

Jay Feely, of Sedgwick Properties Development Corporation, made the presentation for a four-story building with retail at ground level and 30 units on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors. With 90% of the rental apartments being studios, and 1 to 2-bedrooms, their target market is for young singles and couples. With a second building housing 30 parking spaces, which would have bike racks, the mixed- use building is proposed to be 50 feet high, 41,650 sq. ft. in size. Being greater than 9 units, they will be required to have two units for low-income.


Site currently a Citgo gas station

Currently in a C1-2 zoning they are proposing a "modified" B3-3. Many questions were asked about the project including its financial viability. The developer's drawings were "concept" versus renderings and they did not provide architectural plans or any exterior materials information. Described by Feely as an $11 million project, Sedgwick has an interested lender but no finalized agreement with an equity partner.


Jay Feely and Bernard Citron

Sedgwick originally went to 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack's office with plans for a 5-story, 44 unit, 65 ft. high building and was told that the project was too dense for the location. Nothing further was heard from them until Bernard Citron, Thompson Coburn LLP, attorney for Sedgwick, sent a letter dated Nov. 1 to Waguespack stating, "After our second meeting with the Bucktown Community Organization, the Planning and Zoning Committee has voted to recommend the revised project for North and Hermitage." Normal process for such projects is that community organizations review projects after the alderman, for the ward in which a project is proposed, sends the developer to the community organization(s).

There was no vote on the project and most attendees expressed interest in seeing an actual proposal with architectural drawings.

After a written ballot vote, the new BCO Board took office following the close of the meeting. They are: President, Steve Jensen; Secretary, Cheryl Cohen-Bugner; Treasurer, Eva Bergant; VP Community Relations, Demetrius Simpson; VP Membership, Kim Mendonsa; VP Zoning & Planning, Philip Edison; VP Cultural Relations, Richard Wallace; VP Fundraising & Events, Leslie Harshey; and VP Public Relations/Marketing, Kevin Sievers. Committee Chair: Communications, Jen Brady; Community Business Affairs, Leslie Harshey and Teddy Vejar; Education, Steve Dilenger; Holiday Party, Scott Liss; Holiday Party, Silent Auction, Carolyn Rechtel; Co-Chairpersons, Bucktown Tree & GardenWalk, Eva Bergant and Sam Marts. Open positions are VP Parks and Committee Chairs: Movies at Churchill Park.


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