A northwest suburban developer is looking to turn a three-story office building on the Galewood side of the Chicago/Oak Park border into senior housing, with the first floor set aside for office space. 

The proposed project, located at 7000 W. North Ave., is being developed by 7000 W. North LLC, which according to state records is owned by developer Daniel Pontarelli, Mark Yearian and John Paris. The 16 senior housing units they want to build would each be roughly around 697 square feet — slightly smaller than Chicago’s 700-foot minimum for efficiency units. The developers are applying for a variation. 

The Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to consider the development at a meeting on Jan. 17, which will take place in the City Council’s chambers, 121 N. LaSalle St. in Chicago. 

The building is located roughly two blocks east of the former Sears site at North and Harlem, which is currently being redeveloped into a mixed-use building and residential complex. 

The 7000 W. North Ave. property is one of the more distinct office buildings on North Avenue, with the second and third floor lined with wall-length, rectangular windows, forming a cube slightly larger than the first floor below. 

The North Avenue Corridor redevelopment plan — an improvement plan for the section of North Avenue between Harlem and Austin that was created by local nonprofits, city agencies and the village of Oak Park — suggests that medical offices and other service providers could fill the significant amount of empty office space along the corridor. 

The North Avenue District, Inc., an area nonprofit focused on how North Avenue is developed, the village of Oak Park and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning have been collaborating on an improvement plan for the section of North Avenue that is between Harlem Avenue and Austin Boulevard. The Nov. 15 meeting was part of that planning process.

The North Avenue Corridor redevelopment plan “replacing vacant and underutilized buildings and sites on North Avenue with new residential development,” because it would “energize the corridor and add to the potential customer base of area businesses helping them thrive.”

Pontarelli is the current owner of Pontarelli Cos., a construction and real estate development company. Among other things, he has been trying to redevelop an industrial building in Des Plaines, at 946 North Ave., into 67-unit Blue Sky senior housing development. Multiple attempts to contact Pontarelli and the other developers were unsuccessful

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Igor Studenkov

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Growing Community Media newspapers in 2012, then from 2015...