Downtown Winnetka “at a Tipping Point”

With developers seeking to build a 50-foot-high building in Winnetka’s downtown district, commissioners are doing everything possible to stop the elimination of the currently standing Fell building, a 1960′s, single-story that would be demolished if plans go through. In lieu of village ordinances, the new building would be four feet taller than current limits, making this a potential eyesore and, arguably, a bad precedent for the future of the quaint downtown. This four-story building would contain shops and condos, replacing the near-historic Fell building that was built with expansion in mind.


Between the village ordinances and the potential for demolition, Winnetka is on the fence on whether to alter the downtown skyline or preserve its current quaintness. Preservation and supervision are two key ways to set a village like Winnetka (emphasis on the word “village”) apart from developing suburbs and exurbs. While ordinances keep it clean and charming, the historical aspect is key: history is what makes a town unique. It separates the new, Disney-fied developments from established, protected communities. Of course, there is something about the terms “established” and “protected” that leave a bad taste in the mouths of many. Without leaving room for progress, how can the next generation’s history be “established” at all?

680 GREEN BAY Rd #304

Price: $399,900
Beds: 3 On Redfin: 73 days
Baths: 2 Year Built: 1970

812 OAK St #201

Price: $735,000
Beds: 2 On Redfin: 23 days
Baths: 2 Year Built: 1997

  • Kristin

    The same thing happened in my “quaint” hometown and many other surrounding suburbs. It’s always so sad to see Mayberry fill up with corporate highrises.

  • Dale

    I think it’s a bit silly to make a fuss over a four story building that’s a mere four feet over existing limits. If you want to see something that actually might be a real issue, take a look at what’s going on with the new skyscraper in Evanston or focus on Northwestern University making untaxable additions to their campus.

  • sarah.pappalardo

    amen, dale!

  • Richard M. Johnston

    Let’s stay on topic.

  • Barbara Bailey

    One thing my great grandmother told me was to “choose your battles”. When you gain knowledge, you gain power, however, Knowledge with out compassion is worthless. Never forget where you came from and know where you’re going. Social media is what it is, but how you react to it is our responsibility. All this can be a great conversation, but the bottom line is, do what your heart tells you to do. 9 times out of 10, it will be the right move. Only one thing, if you have an evil heart you are sure to fail.

  • Adam Willoughby-Knox

    I see a lot of Machiavellian undertones; representing yourself vs. representing a group. Interesting comparison.

  • Weevie

    Worthwhile change doesn’t always come from or through politics. Michael Jordan set a very high standard of personal excellence that all people can get behind, without getting into politics. Redfin has done a terrific job of taking on the real estate cartel to the economic benefit of the general public, freeing signficant resources for better uses. Arguably just doing what you do, and doing it well, are more important to the general welfare of society than what you contribute to the causes that people ask you to fund. Chin up!