5th Avenue Project
5th Avenue Update - Aug. 7, 2020
In summer 2020, City Council directed staff to explore potential future 5th Avenue workshop dates. Since that time, there continues to be uncertainty around the impacts of COVID-19 on topics that uniquely impact this development, specifically long-term commuter parking needs.
Given this consideration, and to allow Council and staff the ability to review the 5th Avenue Project alongside other City projects and priorities as part of an upcoming strategic planning process, no additional workshops or planning activities will be scheduled for the foreseeable future. As future action occurs, notification will be provided via this webpage, the 5th Avenue eNewsletter, and the 5th Avenue Facts Facebook Page.
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 August 2020
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.
2018 and 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.
On Oct. 1, 2019 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.
City Council subsequently decided on November 5, 2019 to hold a future Council workshop to discuss City Council goals for the 5th Avenue development, articulate specific changes and measures that should be made to the baseline concept, and consider all resident testimony received by Council to date.
In late January, Ryan Companies provided an updated design concept for the 5th Avenue Project to the City Council for its consideration. To facilitate discussion on this new concept, a meeting of the 5th Avenue Steering Committee took place on Feb. 15.
Ryan Companies continues to work on the financial information related to the revised baseline concept. To provide City staff with the opportunity to analyze the financial data presented, present Council with options, and allow the public ample time to view the financial information and staff analysis, the March 2 5th Avenue workshop was canceled and was slated to be rescheduled to April 6, 2020. Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the April workshop date was also canceled.
During the new business portion of the May 5 City Council meeting, Council members discussed the potential of adding a referendum question on 5th Avenue to a future election ballot. You can view video of this discussion here. (To skip to the New Business portion of the meeting, please click on “N. New Business” in the listing underneath the video display.)
Subsequently, at the June 2 Council meeting, the City Council directed City staff to schedule a date for a future workshop on the 5th Avenue Project. The vote came following discussion on whether to place a referendum regarding the project on the November 3 General Election ballot; the Council ultimately decided that a workshop for discussion around financial analysis of the project and to provide further direction to Ryan Companies was the preferred option. In addition, Council said any financial analysis provided should be based off of the concept plan proposed earlier this year by Mayor Steve Chirico and Councilman Patrick Kelly.
Since that time, there continues to be uncertainty around the impacts of COVID-19 on topics that uniquely impact this development, specifically long-term commuter parking needs. Given this consideration, and to allow Council and staff the ability to review the 5th Avenue Project alongside other City projects and priorities as part of an upcoming strategic planning process, no additional workshops or planning activities will be scheduled for the foreseeable future.
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.