Days numbered for Glencoe’s Fell Co. building
Chase bank plans to replace the 114-year-old stucco and wood building at 332 Park Ave. with a new masonry building, seen here from the east, Village Court side. Though the building appears to be two stories tall, it's just a 32-foot single-story building.
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:52AM
The 114-year-old building that once housed Glencoe’s Fell Co. clothing store, various bank branches and other businesses is nearing a date with demolition.
The Glencoe Plan Commission on Jan. 30 reviewed and approved the design of a Chase bank branch that would replace the old building at 332 Park Ave. Under Glencoe law regarding uptown design standards, the ruling is final with no checkoff by the Village Board.
The board will, however, have to make the final call Feb. 21 on whether Chase can build without on-site parking. The village’s Zoning Commission last year recommended 7-0 that the parking variation – common in suburban downtowns – be approved.
The new bank would be built atop the old foundation, but have little else in common with the present structure, which has been vacant since Bank of America left in March, 2011.
The present stucco- and wood-sheathed Tudor building would give way to red brick with stone-like concrete pilasters and coping. The height is similar, but the second floor space and the two rooftop apartments – front and rear, hidden behind a false east wall – will be memories.
In fact, the bank, at 30 feet wide, would stand 32 feet high, but have only a ground floor. Its exterior is designed, however, to look like it has a second floor, architect Tim Meseck said.
Twenty feet up are casement windows, admitting light onto a ground floor topped by a nearly three-story ceiling.
Street-level windows are clear glass, too, allowing the sun to illuminate offices and teller stations.
The main entrance would move a few feet from the Park Avenue side of the building to the corner of Park and Village Court. That diagonal entry mimics the old building’s original design.
It’s a feature present elsewhere on Park Avenue in uptown Glencoe, including the MB Financial Bank and Walgreens/Parkway Drugs at Vernon Avenue, and the commercial building at Green Bay Road, commission member Marya Morris noted.
Delivering and storing building materials won’t be easy, with the building rising atop the old foundation, built to the property lines. There’s no space outside the walls that would belong to the bank, ringed by the village’s parking lot to the south, Park Avenue to the north, Village Court to the east and North Shore Cleaners to the west.
“Our intention at this point is not to close off the street,” Meseck said of Village Court, “but there may be minimal closures.”
Chase plans to use the old foundation to avoid possible “soil issues,” Meseck told the commissioners, without explanation.
He didn’t return calls, but Nathan Parch, village community development analyst, said Tuesday that he’d been told by a Chase representative that the decision was made “to minimize risks” after testing soil beneath the basement.
“Should they excavate, and something be exposed in terms of a hazardous material ... or find soil compacted, not stable,” he said, “they would very likely incur additional costs, not only for remediation, but also for hauling away the soil.”
He added, “Any time you develop a site that was formerly a dry cleaner, or is next door to a dry cleaner, you have the possibility of contamination.”
Chase’s plans feature a rear, parking lot entrance, but only the front door opens into a 24-hour automated banking vestibule.
Patrons can’t walk through, but two teller stations are accessible from each entrance.
Meseck said construction would take about six months.
Chase intends to offer personal banking beyond “Chase Private Client,” and more akin to the company branch at 791 Elm St. in Winnetka than the one at 45 Green Bay Road in Glencoe, Meseck said. But he had a hard time labeling the level of service he referred to.
Commission member Ed Goodale helped him out.
“I think that it’s called Hotsy-Totsy,” he said.