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City Sued for OKing Senior Units in Old Downtown Church

The law firm next to the former St. Mary Carmelite Church, which filed the case, says the building is too small for the project and not the best use for the property.

The downtown law firm that neighbors the former St. Mary Carmelite Church has filed suit against the city and developer to stop the shuttered building from being converted into senior housing.

The lawsuit filed by Kavanagh Grumley & Gorbold contends that putting 40 apartments into an old church is not the best use for the site, especially given that the Joliet City Council recently rejected a housing project for veterans based on a density that was far less, a story in the Joliet Herald News said.

“It seems a little incongruous to me to say 22 units per acre is too dense but 88 units per acre is OK,” attorney Richard Kavanagh told the paper.

Developer Celadon Holdings, of Chicago, received the council's approval in July to transform the 52,000-square-foot building into four floors of apartments. The project also calls for an elevator, private rooftop garden, atrium common area and fitness center.

City Attorney Jeff Plyman told the paper the same standards for density do not apply for senior housing because residents require less space.

The veterans housing development, which proposed 73 one-, two- and three-unit apartments on a little more than three acres of former Silver Cross Hospital property, was essentially rejected when the council decided it could not approve it before re-evaluating the city's density standards. Because that review could not be finished before the Veterans of America had to submit the project for funding, it could not proceed.

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Our Town February 20, 2013 at 06:15 PM
This property was vacant and for sale for more than ten years. Mr. Kavanagh had plenty of time to purchase it and determine it's fate. To do nothing until someone else has a plan and makes a move seems a little incongruous to me.
M&M February 20, 2013 at 08:25 PM
The story above say's VOA wanted 22 per acre, but then I read they came back and proposed 12 per acre, and were still turned down. Unless I'm missing something that's only 2 above what the city wants. We already have a VA clinic coming, why not housing for those who need it? I can see where people are making comparisons between the two projects. A little suspicious to me.
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webdiva September 21, 2013 at 01:38 PM
One has to wonder what Mr. Kavanagh's real motive is. Does he really want to force the property to be auctioned off, so that he or his friends can buy it on the cheap?? What's his vested interest (or conflict of interest) in this business?

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