5th Avenue Project
Council to Hold Future Workshop on 5th Avenue
At its Nov. 5 meeting, the City Council voted to conduct a future workshop on the 5th Avenue Project to discuss how to move the project forward. At the workshop, Council indicated that they will discuss goals and objectives for the project, look at specific changes that should be made to prior concepts presented by Ryan Companies, consider all resident input to date, and work toward setting parameters for a future baseline concept.
This vote came following more than 30 members of the public discussing the project’s efforts to date and Council discussing their preferred course of action. Video of the meeting is available to view here.
Once the workshop date is determined, it will be publicized via this website.
The area along 5th Avenue near the Naperville Metra station has long been a topic of conversation in the community for its potential to accommodate different uses. The area previously was the focus of a 2009 planning area study and other feasibility studies.
The City is considering opportunities to potentially reimagine certain properties in this area, including:
- Kroehler Lot - Located at the NE corner of 5th Avenue/Loomis Street.
- Water Tower West Site - Located at the SE corner of 5th Avenue/Loomis Street.
- Lower Burlington Lot - Located at the SE corner of 5th Avenue/Washington Street.
- 190 E. 5th Avenue (f.k.a. Boecker Property) - Located immediately north of the Upper Burlington Lot.
- Parkview Lot - Located at the signalized intersection of North Avenue/Washington Street.
- DuPage Children’s Museum - Located on west side of Washington Street at the terminus of North Avenue.
- Upper Burlington Lot - Located immediately north of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway, south of 5th Avenue.
Process - Updated July 2019
In beginning the 5th Avenue development process, the City sought a developer who could best guide it through this process, including community engagement. The selection process began as a procurement, and on February 21, 2017, the City Council approved the release of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to provide a fair and level playing field for developers to submit their qualifications to the City.
After releasing the RFQ in February, firms had until May 2017 to respond in writing. Eight companies responded. After reviewing and scoring the written proposals, five teams were asked to participate in 2-hour interviews. (RFQ responses are included on the 5th Avenue Background Information page.) After interviewing the five teams, it was determined by the RFQ scoring committee that the experience, resources and capabilities of one firm (Ryan Companies) exceeded the qualifications of the other proposers.
At its October 3, 2017 meeting, the City Council voted to partner with Ryan Companies and begin the community engagement process for the 5th Avenue Project.
The first two public meetings about the project were held on October 16 and 17, 2017, and allowed 200 attendees to learn more about the initial community engagement plan in greater detail and sign up for future engagement opportunities. Following these meetings, smaller group input sessions allowed over 160 residents, commuters and business owners to share their ideas through nine sessions.
Throughout the winter of 2017-18, a 15-member Steering Committee was formed to help provide Ryan Companies with community input and direction throughout the project. Six working groups were also assembled to complete a more in-depth analysis of topics raised by the community during the fall 2017 input sessions and create a series of principles that could be used to help guide design concept creation. At the same time, market and technical (e.g. traffic, parking, environmental) data were gathered to provide a baseline for concept development.
A Land Use and Height Survey was issued in spring 2018 to gather feedback from interested stakeholders and the general public on these important topics. The efforts of the working groups and initial survey results were discussed at a combined working group meeting on June 4, 2018. The concept principles were introduced at this time and ultimately refined by the Steering Committee and City Council before being approved on July 17, 2018. At that time, the City Council gave approval for Ryan Companies to move forward with concept creation.
Concept creation involved taking all the information and data gathered during the community engagement phase of the project and developing concepts for what development along 5th Avenue would look like. The concept principles developed by the working groups and Steering Committee helped guide those concept drawings.
Concept creation will involve three phases – creation, baseline concept creation, and finalization – with community input every step of the way. Read more about the concept creation process.
Throughout this process, the City is separately evaluating concepts and their impacts through the use of an independent, third-party consultant. This consultant was obtained through the City’s standard procurement process and will serve as an advocate throughout the concept evaluation stage and beyond. S.B. Friedman was selected as the City Advocate at the October 16, 2018, City Council meeting and presented an initial report at the December 4, 2018 City Council meeting.
Late 2018 and Early 2019
On September 18, 2018, City Council tabled all efforts related to the 5th Avenue Project until the following could be provided:
- Guidance from City’s Advocate (provided 12/4/18)
- City staff recommendation on commuter parking (provided 11/20/18)
- Recommendation from the Fair Housing Advisory Commission (received and approved 4/3/19)
- Recommendations from DCM Working Group (announced 5/17/19)
With all the above completed, staff recommended in early summer 2019 that the City Council reconvene discussion to provide policy direction needed on the six outstanding issues identified by the public and 5th Avenue Steering Committee relative to the 5th Avenue Project, including traffic, parking, pedestrian crossing, the Kroehler lot, green space, and land use. Council voted to discuss these issues at a workshop that took place on July 15, 2019. At that workshop, City Council reached consensus on moving forward with the 5th Avenue Project and provided direction to Ryan Companies on several outstanding policy questions.
In addition, since the Steering Committee was first formed, several events occurred that required re-evaluation of the committee's make-up. Following a discussion in June meeting, City Council voted to fill a City Council vacancy on the committee with Councilman Patrick Kelly, have Pilgrim Addition appoint a new neighborhood representative to fill the seat previously occupied by Councilman Kelly, add a representative from the DuPage Children's Museum, and remove the at-large seat. In addition, City staff and Ryan Companies personnel have been removed from the Steering Committee. Council voted to have City staff facilitate future Steering Committee meetings versus Ryan Companies personnel; both parties will remain present at meetings. Council also voted to make City Council liaisons non-voting members of the Steering Committee.
Contracts and Entitlements
Assuming a concept is approved by the Council, development contracts and entitlements (zoning approvals) will be required prior to commencement of any construction activities.
- Oct. 1 City Council Meeting Recap
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the City Council discussed the 5th Avenue Project baseline concept and whether to direct Ryan Companies to move forward with the baseline concept for more detailed study as well as to prepare key business terms.
After hearing from 40 members of the public and discussing the topic at length, the City Council voted 6-3 not to move forward with the baseline concept. No additional action was directed by City Council; any future project activities will be at the direction of a consensus of the City Council.
- Sept. 23 Steering Committee Recap
On September 23, 2019, the 5th Avenue Steering Committee convened to review the baseline concept and public input received. Through a facilitated discussion and series of votes, the Steering Committee discussed concerns and opportunities presented by the concept. The consensus of the Steering Committee was to move forward with the baseline concept.
The Steering Committee shares many of the same concerns expressed by the public about the project and felt moving forward with the baseline will provide the means to complete necessary parking, traffic, and other detailed studies of the area, to more accurately plan for the proper density, mix of land uses, necessary pedestrian and traffic improvements, and provide an adequate parking supply.
It was also recommended by a majority of the Steering Committee that the future study include stormwater improvements within Kendall Park to address the needs of the Pilgrim’s Addition neighborhood. The Steering Committee is particularly interested in seeing traffic modeling, more information about the affordable housing elements, and green space additions.
- Recap of Sept. 19 Baseline Concept Public Meeting
On Thursday, Sept. 19, the 5th Avenue Steering Committee hosted a public meeting to present the baseline concept created by Ryan Companies for the 5th Avenue Project. The meeting was an opportunity for the public to hear a presentation on the concept and provide input.