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Significant Development Rumblings at Madison & Racine

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Partners in the re-design of Atrium Village, FitzGerald Associates Architects is expending some energy in the West Loop as well. Curbed heard from a tipster today that developer AvalonBay (correction: Crain's reports the developer is actually Ascend Real Estate Group which is confirmed by Ascend) plans are been touted for a 9-story 250-unit apartment building at Madison & Racine with first-floor retail. The available rendering differs slightly from the one presented at last night's community meeting. Our tipster attended the meeting, hosted by Alderman Burnett, that addressed the proposal. He gauged the community's response:

While most people at the meeting seemed to be in agreement that a development on that land would be better than an empty lot, comments at the meeting were mainly negative/concerned due to the development's size in relation to buildings on that intersection (most of which are half the height), the massive amount of units, the fact that there are already several large developments in the works in the area, congestion on an already busy intersection, and the bland/typical/uninspired design. It seemed like the community would be in favor of such a development if it was scaled back to better blend in with its surroundings, and possibly be broken up into smaller buildings instead of just another large box / wall of bricks and glass. We agree, the design is lackluster. But as the architects write to accompany their rendering, the building elevations are broken up to diminish the effect of height in relation to neighboring buildings. It may also help relieve the building's general bulkiness. The rounded corner at Madison & Racine is meant to address the jog in Racine through visual continuity, say the architects. Sounds like good old fashioned salesmanship to us. It's not been a month since the city issued a call for developers for the site, for which they set a minimum bid of $3.1M, according to The Tribune. There's an affordability requirement of 20% of upper floor units. What we have here is more-or-less what the city wanted. This will be AvalonBay's first residential project within the city limits, and comes three years after a 164-unit condo plan for the site shriveled and died.
·Official Site: Fitzgerald Associates Architects
·Madison/Racine developer sought [Trib]