Some luxury cars are living a less-than-glamorous existence in Chicagoland garages, surrounded by kids' toys and garden tools while growing a layer of frost when temperatures plummet.
But a suburban developer is hoping to give the autos a high-end home — and their owners the ultimate man cave.
Iron Gate Motor Condos Inc. has proposed garage condos for Naperville's northwest side that President Tom Burgess described as "top-of-the-line toy storage."
Burgess, CEO of a commercial real estate business, said he decided during the recession he wanted to do something fun.
"Let's try to bring something unique that matches the brand of Naperville that has that interesting quality-of-life dynamic to it for a demographic that really does contribute to the community and creates that one-plus-one-equals-three effect," he said.
While one resident who lives near the site questioned the effect on homes in the area, local officials embraced it.
"I hate cars. I don't like anything about cars," said Robert Williams, who sits on Naperville's Planning and Zoning Commission. "Having said that, I love this."
Owners could store multiple cars, boats, motor homes and other vehicles in the space and also create a customized place to relax in the loft area. Some in other locations have installed amenities like kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, fireplaces and even a basketball court. However, owners would not be allowed to live on-site.
"What this product offers is that place where you can enjoy your passion with other like-minded folks," Burgess said. He estimates the starting price for the smallest units to be $120,000 and said they all will have heat and electricity.
The plan for the facility, which could open in June and would be part of the AutoMotorPlex brand, calls for about 13 buildings on roughly 40 acres just south of Ferry Road and west of state Route 59. Each building would have units ranging from 1,140 to 16,000 square feet that would be sold as condos.
The property would have a gated entry and motion cameras, but the public would be able to sneak a peek once or twice a month at open house events.
A little more than half of the property would remain open space, including a wetland and a walking trail connecting the Illinois Prairie Path to Ferry Road that would be accessible to the public.
Commission Chairman Patty Gustin said she believes the garages are far enough away from homes and liked the open space on the site.
The second phase of development calls for adding services that would cater to car owners such as repair facilities, a detail shop, equipment supplier, insurance offices and food service.
The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the detailed plans for the first phase and the general concept for the second phase.
"I think this is a creative use, innovative idea for the property," Commissioner Tim Messer said.
The proposal will go to the City Council for a vote.