The fate of the $92 million Edgewater redevelopment project hangs in the hands of the City Council at its meeting tonight.
The council will review the decision of last Monday’s Landmarks Commission meeting that denied approval to Edgewater hotel redeveloper Hammes Company for a certificate of appropriateness and variance for the project.
Hammes Company President Bob Dunn appealed the decision last week, asking the City Council to overturn the decision.
Hammes has previously said the latest project plans, which are the product of the company revising previous hotel plans, are the latest and last attempt to go forward with the redeveloping the hotel. Reducing the plans any further — such as by lowering the hotel tower height — would render the project economically unfeasible.
To overturn the Landmarks Commission’s decision, a total of 14 alders will need to side with Hammes.
If the decision is overturned, Hammes will still need to garner a variety of other city committee approvals — a council decision to overturn the commission’s decision is not a direct approval for the project.
The City Council will look at the commission’s decision not to grant a certificate of appropriateness but cannot review the decision not to grant a variance, according to a memo written by City Attorney Michael May. However, if the council decides to overturn the decision, no variance will be needed.
According to May’s memo, the pertinent question the council needs to decide is whether, owing to “special conditions” relating to the property, the decision not to grant a certificate will cause “serious hardship to the owner.”
Ald. Bridget Maniaci, District 2, whose district contains the Edgewater Hotel, said she will vote to overturn the decision.
The decision will be close, Maniaci said, as there are alders currently “on the fence.”