Developers with Altierra Group were given the green light Monday by the village board for its proposed 10-unit luxury condo building at Chicago and Maple avenues.
The proposed Residences at Maple Place development returned from a peer review session with other local architects with a new design that lowered the height of the five-story building by 4 feet, and the fifth floor was set back 10 feet on the east and west sides and 8 feet on the north.
The bulk of the building was reduced by restructuring the balconies to a cantilevered design with platforms held up by metal columns rather than balconies being set into the structure.
"The building now reads as if the corners were eliminated," Altierra architect John Schiess told the village board Monday.
And a small space — 300-500 square feet — for potential street-level retail was added in an effort to address concerns that the initially proposed street-level parking garage would create a "dead zone" for retail. Whether or not retail space is included in the final plan is dependent on a number of factors.
Schiess received heavy criticism at the previous board meeting, with local architect and critic Garret Eakin calling the design "essentially a decorated box." Eakin writes a monthly architecture column for the Wednesday Journal.
At the direction of Village President Anan Abu-Taleb, Schiess worked with Eakin and two other local architects — Tom Bassett-Dilley and Jim Lencioni — to rework the design to reduce the bulk and height.
"In order to fulfill our vision of a building that the community can be proud of, this peer review will generate input from local architects whose work our development team respects and admires," Paul Zimmermann, principal of Altierra Group, had said in a news release last week.
Schiess said the work session aimed to present "a more aesthetically pleasing and architecturally interesting façade design to the board."
Eakin gave a more upbeat appraisal of the project on Monday, saying it was "a lot better" than the original design. "It's lighter, it's lower, it's not as big, there's some idea of making it human in scale," Eakin said.
Schiess said the peer review resulted in a suggestion that moving some of the building's mechanical functions into the basement would create space to drop the height of the building by four feet.
"That's fairly significant because during the plan commission, we were struggling to get it down even 1 foot," he said.
Schiess noted that there was a loss of square footage on the top floor, but the group aims to recapture some of the lost space with a green roof. The total net loss was about 2,000 square feet, he said.