Banner fills multifamily void in west suburb 

Wheaton officials approved 300-plus unit project for downtown site

Banner Fills Housing Void In West Chicago Suburb
Wheaton Mayor Phil Suess and Banner Real Estate’s Bob Flannery with Downtown Wheaton, IL (Wikipedia/Sea Cow, Wheaton Mayor Phil Suess, Banner Real Estate Group)

Banner Real Estate Group’s plan to revitalize the south side of Wheaton’s downtown is on track to advance as local officials award building permits for a major residential project in the western suburb starved for more housing.

Banner’s project, set to become one of the suburb’s largest apartment complexes, will yield more than 300 units on a city block bordered by Liberty Drive, Hale Street, Willow and Wheaton avenues, the Daily Herald reported

The development will bring much needed housing to the downtown area, as the last major apartment project, Wheaton 121, opened over a decade ago. The few other downtown complexes are at full capacity.

There’s a strong chance that the new building will get leased up quickly, as well, given that the west suburban multifamily market has been under-supplied for over a decade, despite strong rental demand. 

Suburban Chicago’s multifamily market neared full capacity by the end of last year, with an occupancy rate of 97.3 percent, according to appraisal and consulting firm Integra Realty Resources. Suburban rents rose 5.4 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter.

Since Wheaton 121 opened, the city has been working to enhance infrastructure and public gathering spaces, creating a more cohesive streetscape to attract private investment. Public spaces and renovated buildings along Hale and Main streets have become focal points, drawing crowds to outdoor dining areas established during the pandemic and encouraging retailers to set up nearby.

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“I think from our perspective, the pieces are falling together, and you are seeing the private investment come into the city,” Mayor Phil Suess told the outlet. 

Banner Real Estate’s new complex is strictly a private investment, unaided by tax increment financing, as the TIF district encompassing the site expired in December 2022. City Council had previously rezoned the downtown site to facilitate the construction of a mixed-use building.

Suess cited high interest rates and the challenge of securing equity partners as obstacles to the development, but credited Banner’s swift move to acquire the land and building permits, demonstrating a strong commitment to the project.

The new building will feature a mix of unit types, catering to high demand from empty nesters, young professionals and those seeking proximity to the Metra train station. The ground floor will also house Egg Harbor, maintaining its presence in the area.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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