5th Avenue Project

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 has previously been the focus of a planning area study completed in 2009 and other feasibility studies.

The City is now 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 November 21, 2018

5th Avenue timeline

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. Ryan Companies is required to provide an update to the City Council at their meetings every 60 days to obtain approval from Council to continue moving forward with the project. 

Community Engagement

View Community Engagement Plan

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. The concept principles were introduced at this time and ultimately refined by the Steering Committee and City Council before being approved on July 17. At that time, the City Council gave approval for Ryan Companies to move forward with concept creation.

Concept Creation

View Concept Creation Plan

Concept creation involves 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 will help guide those concept drawings. 

Concept creation will involve three phases over the coming months – 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. 

Assuming a concept is approved by the Council, development contracts and entitlements (zoning approvals) will be required prior to commencement of any construction activities.

Latest Update - Spring 2019

At its April 3 meeting, the City Council considered the recommendation of the Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) regarding inclusion of affordable housing within the 5th Avenue Development Project. This discussion was based on HAC’s position paper it developed that recommended the Council direct the project developer to include a minimum of 20% of affordable housing, as defined by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, into the proposed development.

Following input from nine public speakers and discussion at the dais, the City Council voted to consider the recommendation of HAC and provided direction that a goal of 20% of housing in the 5th Avenue development be defined as affordable. The City Council did clarify that this 20% is a target, not a mandate, given that there will likely be trade-offs and balances to be made based on all the different factors, elements, and demands within the development (e.g. stormwater, parking, open space, market demands/feasibility, etc.). 

In addition, Council directed City staff to bring back information on other housing options, including workforce and attainable housing and what definitions of those might look like, along with researching other cities’ inclusionary zoning ordinances.

The agenda item and video of the April 3 meeting is available to view at https://naperville.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.

May 17, 2019 Statement from the DuPage Children's Museum Working Group

In September 2018, while discussing redevelopment of Naperville’s 5th Avenue train station district, the City Council commissioned a working group to assess the viability of alternative locations for DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM). The working group consisted of Mayor Steve Chirico; Councilwoman Patty Gustin; City Manager Doug Krieger; and numerous representatives from DCM, including President and CEO Sarah Orleans, staff members Kimberly Stull and Julie Carlsen, Board Chairman Mark Trembacki, and board members Chris Abbinante, Russell Toney, Steve Waeghe, and Ann Wallin.

For more than six months, the working group collaborated with the goal of ensuring that DCM, a major cultural attraction for the western suburbs, continues to thrive as community asset in Naperville. Guided by financial sustainability and mutually beneficial outcomes, these partners investigated the viability of DCM’s relocation within the Naperville community, navigating a complex decision-making environment of financial, legal and logistical considerations that had to be carefully assessed. Multiple locations were evaluated individually in the framework of these considerations, including the East Ogden corridor.

Ultimately, none of the locations presented a viable solution for DCM’s relocation; as such, it is anticipated that DCM will remain a vital component of the 5th Avenue redevelopment project. No additional locations are currently being evaluated, and there are no active efforts to pursue additional potential locations. DCM remains open to working with all of its stakeholders - including the City of Naperville, developers, museum members, visitors and donors – to explore the best potential growth options so that the museum can continue to provide exceptional early learning experiences for all children and families.

Land Use and Height Survey Results

Ryan partnered with aQity Research & Insights, with input from the 5th Avenue Steering Committee, to develop and administer the 5th Avenue Land Use and Height Survey. Over 1,300 responses were collected from March 13 through May 11, when the survey closed.

During the June 19 City Council meeting, aQity Research provided an in-depth analysis of the land use and height survey results. Below are links to the questions asked, the initial top line summary results, and the final full survey report.

Full Survey Report/Analysis

Top Line/Summary Results 

Survey Questions