Official Statement from Board of Directors on Potential Development at 4715 N. Western Ave
Over the last several months, the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center has publicly expressed apprehension about a proposed development at 4715 N. Western Ave. Of special concern to the DANK Haus is the potential loss of parking, the loss of festival space in Lincoln Square, and the height of the proposed building.
Parking is instrumental for the DANK Haus to survive as a local institution that serves both the community and greater Chicagoland as a center for German culture and language. Currently, the parking lots at 4715 N. Western and at Fifth Third Bank at 4800 N. Western Ave—which is also on the docket for development—are used by our students and by the many private and cultural events held at DANK. We have supplied both Aldermen Vasquez and Martin with the dates and numbers of 2018/2019 event attendees to quantify our needs for parking.
Also of concern to the DANK Haus is the availability of the space at 4715 N Western for community festivals that DANK Haus regularly participates in. While the DANK Haus itself does not host Maifest Chicago, German Day Festival or Apple Fest, we are heavily dependent on the increase in exposure and funds raised at these festivals.
At a recent presentation to stakeholders and the local community, a developer provided details and clarification that addressed our concerns. The proposed parking garage in the new development would restore 41 of the 43 spots currently available for public parking. This developer also expressed a willingness to work with the DANK Haus and other planning organizations to come to mutually agreeable alterations to the festival space.
As a cultural center that relies on a lively community, we welcome adding density to the neighborhood - it would increase foot traffic along Western Ave and presumably bring more people to our center. A mix of socio-economic backgrounds reflects much of our own heritage and is welcomed.
As a pillar in the Lincoln Square community, we also request transparency on such projects that affect our community. Transparency in the process includes early and regular updates on the proposals and development plans. The recent direct involvement of Cook County Treasurer Papas and her office is very much appreciated.
We look forward to working with the developer to ensure that our community and cultural outreach and our beloved Lincoln Square festivals can continue.