The Fell Company Store currently faces demolition as New Trier Partners, a development firm plans to redevelop the property which will include building four floors of retail and condos and underground parking at the 1-acre site, which at 50 feet will be above the villages current 45 foot cap for building heights.
The building was designed by Walter H. Sobel, FAIA and Associates won the Outstanding Merit Award for the Planning and Design of a Small Department Store, in an international competition of the Institute of Store Planners, and the National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers in 1970. Besides the aesthetically pleasing exterior and space-efficient interior design, the project was planned in a forward looking way to permit economically adding at least two floors of housing or additional retail area at a later date. It now faces demolition and replacement by a larger scale project.
The importance of the Fell Store and Sobel’s architecture are underscored not only by the by Merit Award but by the fact that the plans and drawings for the Store are now being collected as part Mr. Sobel’s project by the Midwest Architectural Archives at the University of Minnesota and the Spertus Museum archives in Chicago. Sobel also designed Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston, The Geico Building in Wilmette, and the Wack House in Kenilworth. He also designed the renovations for the Braeside and Ravinia Schools in Highland Park when working for John Van Bergen.
The project had received an OK from Winnetka Design Rewview Board on June 6, before it became public in the Winnetka Talk in late June. The Zoning Board considers it on August 11th, and the Winnetka Plan Commission on July 23rd.
Chair of the Winnetka Plan Commission and Village Council , Village of Winnetka
Image: Fell Co. designed Walter H. Sobel, taken by R. Sobel on Oct. 4. 2007.