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Developer Renews Case For Apts at Edgewater Medical Site

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Salivating over the property for nearly a decade, Waveland Partners, owner of the derelict Edgewater Medical Center at Ashland and Hollywood, is firmly pushing residential development with hopes of receiving demolition approval by September. The new push offers an appealing compromise to Andersonville residents and the Friends of West Edgewater Park group: The Residences of Edgewater Park. Since the medical center closed in bankruptcy nearly 10 years ago endless proposals for "luxury apartments" have continued to morph. Originally the plan called for 350 dwellings units, a number which crawled skyward until 2010 when it peaked at a greedy 500 units; a tall order for a neighborhood as quaint as Andersonville and in the minds of the devoted Friends of West Edgewater Park who have sought to turn the entire site into a community park.

The meeting, led by Ald. Patrick O' Connor, unveiled the newest proposal from OKW Architects. In line with previous plans for the site, the current structures will be set for demolition with costs absorbed by a TIF grant. Not so different from previous plans, the current parking structure will become single family homes, largely due to the fact that the grounds were re-zoned to support such structures. The new 13-story tower will have a tangible 214 units, and the new design holds fast to the building's current footprint. The tower will offer 15 income-based efficiency units (in compliance with the TIF grant), while remaining units will be market-rate one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The tower's first level is a proposed 14,000-square-foot retail space. Meeting attendants, largely composed of neighborhood residents, expressed distaste for the space— more so once Ald. O'Connor dismissed the possibility of a Trader Joe's. Two floors of parking with 234 spaces are planned for residential and retail use, while the remaining 11 floors would be apartments. An elevated and private "green-roof" for building residents was also confirmed in the new plan.

Aside from the drastic reduction in building size, Waveland Partners has seemingly come to terms with the realization that work is unlikely to commence without the community's support. In directly addressing one Friends of West Edgewood Park representative, Ald. O'Conner stated, "the creation of the entire site into a park, with current economic times, is not feasible." However, an increase in the planned park's size went from a laughable 8,700-square-foot corner to nearly one-third of the total plot's area, some 39,000 square feet. That helped quench the concern for greenspace. Also, in a turn of events, the Chicago Park District agreed to take ownership of the donated land— a very appealing twist that would see the land officially retained as "community shared space".
·Developer Still Trying to Sell Community on Edgewater Project [Curbed Chicago]
·Official Site: The Residences at Edgewater Park

—Jake Stallman