Yesterday's announcement that Whole Foods agreed to lease a 30,000-square-foot space in Village Center is a major coup for developer Antheus Capital and Hyde Park in general. When we spoke with Peter Cassel from Antheus/MAC Properties about the development in February, he said the developer would only lay out a construction schedule once an anchor tenant had been signed. So when we heard the news about Whole Foods, we phoned Cassel again to follow up. "With the Whole Foods lease in place, we are confident that we can secure a construction loan," says Cassel. He expects ground to break in fall 2012, and he says it'll take about 18 months to build the Studio Gang-designed development. Instead of building it in phases, the entire mixed-use development will be built at once.
Originally, Antheus had planned for the 22-story tower to be condos, but it sound like the developer is more inclined to let the market determine whether the residential units will be condos or rentals. "For the past two to three years, the market has been volatile — to say the least," says Cassell. "Right now, it's obviously safer to go rental, but later, if we find that we can make more money doing condos, that'd be swell." In addition to the Whole Foods and the residential tower, Village Center will have a two-level underground garage, office space, and about 10,000 square feet of commercial space for smaller, local retailers. Cassel says that Antheus will likely wait until it is closer to delivering that retail space before signing tenants.
So it's official: In terms of new developments, sleepy, tweedy Hyde Park is now the most exciting neighborhood in Chicago. And all of this just adds more suspense to the upcoming announcement of Harper Court's anchor tenants.
· Whole Foods is Coming to Hyde Park! [Curbed Chicago]
· Antheus Still Planning to Go Forward with Village Center [Curbed Chicago]