Government

Batavia could get apartments near Walmart store

Batavia might get more apartment housing if a proposal to build 105 apartments near a Walmart store comes to fruition.

Aldermen last week gave an informal thumbs-up to the concept for Plaza West Apartments.

“It’s nice to see proposals like this coming forward again,” Alderman Dan Chanzit said, referring to the yearslong lag in new construction after the 2008 recession.

The apartments would be built on 4.4 acres at Hawks Drive and Fabyan Parkway behind the Walmart store and near a senior citizen apartment complex.

Terry Smith, a planner with BSB Design, presented the preliminary plan to aldermen on Oct. 12.

The land currently is designated for general commercial use. But according to a city memo, that’s not a good use because there is no direct access to Fabyan Parkway from the site. Smith said nobody has been interested in building a store there.

The owner, National Shopping Plazas Inc., has unsuccessfully tried to market the land for offices, according to the memorandum.

The preliminary plan calls for two three-story buildings and one four-story building. They would contain two- and three-bedroom apartments.

A market analysis in the memo estimated the apartments would rent for $1,305 to $2,025 a month. That’s exclusive of premiums such as having a corner unit or having a garage parking space.

Mayor Jeff Schielke said the apartments could appeal to older people who want to give up living in a house and “lock the door” a few months of the year to go to Florida or visit their adult children. It is not designated as senior or age-restricted housing, but Smith said because the site is so small, it won’t have amenities that would attract families.

“This is probably a fairly strong market for this to be built somewhere in Batavia,” Schielke said.

Part of the site would have to be annexed to Batavia. The developer would also have to obtain a zoning change and may ask to be allowed to build fewer parking spaces than city law requires.