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Letter: Chason Elmwood project is exactly what area needs

Chason Elmwood project is exactly what area needs

I own a real estate financing company, but for the first 17 years of my career, I was a city planner. I have lived in the Elmwood Village for 45 years.

The Deloitte accounting firm recently completed its 31st annual survey of holiday spending trends. For the first time, respondents expect to spend as much of their shopping budget online as at physical stores.

Our beloved Elmwood commercial corridor needs to fight this trend to be economically viable. So how do we do this? I think the Chason Elmwood project is an ideal response. Why? It will bring much-needed bricks-and-mortar buying power into the corridor – new higher-income shoppers within walking distance of our merchants and restaurants.

The always contentious issue of parking is dealt with by adding new surplus off-street parking in addition to the parking reserved for residents.

Small retail spaces are provided for local retailers. And remember, our local retailers typically have less internet presence than the national retailers so they particularly need bricks-and-mortar shopping to thrive in this new e-commerce world.

I am not an architect, so I don’t claim expertise as to the best design, but I do love some of this project’s features: The stepped-back design above the third floor; the large increase in the porous drainage area on site; the collection and reuse of rainwater and snowmelt in a hidden cistern; the landscaped pocket park facing Elmwood, which breaks up the Elmwood facade; and the condominium ownership feature, which expands our housing options.

The developers have had a number of community meetings to obtain input, but I’m sure not everyone is satisfied. No project ever does this. But as we take the Elmwood Village into the reality of the 21st century, I think this project will help us preserve our commercial district as it faces the important challenges of the years to come.

Jerry Kelly


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