The debate between Naperville, past and future, took one step toward the future last night as the Naperville City Council approved Planned Unit Development (PUD) and vacation of right-of-way for the proposed downtown Water Street multi-use commercial/residential development.
Understandably, there are concerns about this new development; however, I believe, given a first glance at the proposed project above, the development will present an interesting and alluring new dimension to our cherished Downtown. Even more, this development will blend as a nice compliment to the authentic vintage architecture of downtown.
The fact of the matter is the existing buildings currently occupying this area of downtown are not exactly breathtaking from an aesthetic point of view. Blending additional mixed-use residential units in the immediate downtown breathes life and vitality into the heart of our community. Such vitality lends itself to long-term sustainability and functional use which would not exist in a strict commercial zoned use.
I’ve talked about the value of mixed-use development before and I believe it is an additional measure to keep downtown from becoming a high-end shopping mall. When you have the support of a community like Naperville and residential life in the immediate downtown, the types of businesses, attractions and amenities begin to change from that of strict commercial space. Hopefully, we might also stand a chance of bringing a trendy little boutique hotel into downtown which is one such piece of the puzzle which has been missing greatly.
To the critics who are concerned about any disruption such development might cause in terms of noise and residential life, it’s important to remember that when you move into downtown Naperville, especially these days, you know exactly what you are getting. The target buyers/tenants of these types of residential dwellings along with the Naper Main Project will be those who have moved from Chicago yet still want the urban neighborhood lifestyle which blends leisure, recreation and housing options. This translates into enhanced space for attracting young knowledge workers who are either single or newly married without children, which strengthens the workforce side of future economic development.
Kudos to the City Council and the developments of this new project. The future is looking very bright. SM