Monday evening’s (6/27) steering committee presentation on final market findings and transportation concepts was greeted with consensus. The meeting, which ran from 7-9:30pm at Village Hall began with a presentation of market findings by Linda Goodman of Goodman Williams Group followed by transportation recommendations by Kelly Conolly of Sam Schwartz Engineering.
The presentation on market findings highlighted themes and included details on the process through which conclusions were formed – i.e. a combination of rigorous data gathering and analysis, as well as projections, about what can be supported in Winnetka over the next five years. Many of the themes and findings support the desires as identified through extensive community outreach.
- Both Hubbard Woods and Elm Street districts have the potential to support new residential and commercial development.
- The Primary Market Area is “leaking” expenditure potential in all categories, which equates to opportunities for new retail /restaurant / service/ office businesses.
- Public input stressed the need for and interest in more dining options; which based on market data translates to potential tenants for both Hubbard Woods and Elm Street Districts.
Commercial opportunities include
- Specialty and convenience retail, specifically ~ 26,000 SF of: Quality apparel, home furnishings, specialty food, health & personal care and other merchandise.
- Quick service and full service restaurants, specifically ~23,000 SF of: Family friendly dining, coffee shops, a brewpub/microbrewery, ethnic food options, wine bars, upscale casual food and bakeries.
- Office, medical and service uses, specifically ~30,000 SF of: Yoga and fitness studios, medical offices, recreation, professional office and educational support.
Regarding residential, Winnetka’s household base is expected to grow only minimally over next 5 years. The “for sale” market has in most respects returned to pre-recession health in the area and Winnetka supports much higher housing prices than the remainder of the defined North Shore. Based on such, ownership housing is not currently attainable for many younger households. Furthermore, as the current population ages there are few housing options for those who want single-level maintenance-free living in the community. Winnetka’s changing demographics, while a challenge in many respects, present opportunities for the introduction of housing types that are currently under-represented within the Village.
Residential opportunities include
- Age-Targeted Condominiums: Demand over the next five years for 45-55 new for-sale units targeting householders 55 +.
- Attached Single Family Homes: A limited number of townhomes or rowhomes (up to 30 over a 5-year period) can attract younger families.
- Rental Apartments: In the 3-5-year time horizon, up to 75 units geared toward younger households could potentially be supported, particularly in Hubbard Woods District.
Following the market presentation, Kelly Conolly with Sam Schwartz Engineering presented transportation findings and recommendations. Key themes include the following:
Green Bay Road: Changing the character of Green Bay Road is critical to creating cohesive, walkable Downtown districts as the road is perceived as a barrier and hard to cross.
Street and Sidewalk Design: The design of downtown streets and parking is a tool that can be used to implement all aspects of the vision for Downtown Winnetka.
Customer Parking: Providing parking for Downtown customers should be a priority and can be accomplished through better management of all types of parking, but requires a prioritization and balancing of different user needs.
Downtown Elm Recommendations
- Modify the cross section of Green Bay Road as transition from the north into Downtown, i.e. between Spruce and Elm
- Improve intersection of Green Bay Road and Elm Street, i.e. reduce the width of the street using bump outs, curb extensions, better identify cross walks, and integrate more landscaping
- Modify the cross section of Elm Street Bridge
- Improve intersection of Green Bay Road and Oak Street
- Create more customer parking
- Change customer parking time limits and update signage
- Simplify public parking lot designations
Hubbard Woods Recommendations
- Create more sidewalk space with curb extensions (bump-outs)
- Convert Merrill to 2-way traffic (Improve access to parking garage and vehicle circulation around the park)
- Signage to the garage is needed
- Traffic calming will help perception of Green Bay as a barrier
- Cross promote Green Bay Trail and business district
Indian Hill Recommendations
- Serve as Village gateway
- Install directional signage to Elm Street District
- Continue communication with NTHS about parking & transportation
- Continue to allow NTHS usage of commuter parking lot
Next Steps: Join us on Monday July 25 for our next Steering Committee Meeting, which will highlight final plan recommendations as they relate to Land Use and Urban Design.