1605 Monroe St

A new mixed-use development at 1605 Monroe Street will start construction this spring. If the city approves, the development may include a bank with a drive-thru window.

A new mixed-use development will be popping up on the eastern end of Monroe Street this spring, possibly with a bank, if the city grants permission for a drive-thru service window.

The 44-unit, four-story project is slated for 1605 Monroe St. Gregg Shimanski is the developer of the project.

The 61,000 square-foot building will host studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, all of which include balconies.There are 43 underground parking spaces, a gym and community living area.

The “upscale” units will be marketed for 25-35 year-old tech workers, Shimanski said, similar to multi-family developments on the near west and near east sides.

The site is currently the home of an office building built in the 1960s, (“‘Tired’ is the best word I could use,” Shimanski said to describe it) and a single family house, both of which will be demolished to make way for the new development.

“It will get rid of two dilapidated properties,” he said. “It will give a little life to this end of Monroe Street.”

The new building would include 5,300 square feet of commercial space. Shimanski will be relocating his offices to the building, and several financial institutions have expressed interest in the site, Shimanski said.

Banks typically require drive-thru windows which, until recently, were not allowed in traditional shopping street districts (TSS) like Monroe Street. The alder for the district, Sara Eskrich, proposed an amendment to zoning that would allow for drive-thru windows through conditional use permits. She proposed the amendment in anticipation of this project.

“Before the ordinance change there was not an option, and now there is at least an option to decide if it's appropriate or not,” she said.

Associated Bank, located down the street at 1720 Monroe St., has expressed interest in relocating to the site. If Associated Bank were to move, that would potentially open up a new development on a fairly large lot on Monroe, Eskrich said.

The Shimanski development would only allow for one drive-thru lane, which would be completely enclosed under the building, she said.

Shimanski will re-appear before the Plan Commission in April to obtain the conditional use permit for the drive-thru. Shimanski said the conditional use does not guarantee that he will lease the commercial space to a bank, but he wants to keep his options open.

This will be Shimanski’s third time before the commission. The project was previously approved by the city as a five-story building, but then Shimanski modified the project as a four-story building due to project costs. The project was quickly re-approved, with the support of the neighborhood both times.

Shimanski has done a lot of outreach work with the neighbors, Eskrich said, and they like the project, but have questions about the drive-thru.

The neighborhood requested a traffic study around the drive-thru, as the only access to the drive-thru would be off Oakland Avenue, a one-way residential street.

The next neighborhood meeting will include a vote to decide whether to support the conditional use permit required for the window, Eskrich said.

“(They’re) comfortable with Associated Bank as a tenant, it’s just this question of a drive-thru particularly,” she said.

Assuming Associated Bank or another financial institution fills the space, that will leave about 1,500 square feet for another commercial tenant, but Shimanski hasn’t decided what might go there.

He said he’s not worried about finding a tenant, calling the lot “one of the better sites in the city for mixed use.”

Shimanski’s a fan of the location; he lives on on the other end of Monroe and attended Edgewood High School.

“I believe in the street; I love the street,” he said. “I’m excited to be able to contribute to the growth of the neighborhood.”

Plans are to start construction on April 3 and finish by March 2018.

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