It's one of the only undeveloped parcels on Michigan Avenue, a surface parking lot at 1000 South Michigan Avenue between 9th and 11th, right in the midst of the South Loop's construction boom, with views of Grant Park, no existing structures to remove and previous zoning for a high-rise. And when an empty parking lot in the neighborhood sells for $7.75M and a new condo tower just broke ground on Wabash, it seems like a prime pickup for any aspiring developer. While there's promise, a closer look at the lot's history suggests it's a bit of a Bermuda Triangle in the South Loop.
In the early 2000's, developer Guy Gardner, heir to the Soft Sheen hair care franchise and Harmon Development Group attempted to turn the lot into a 50-story, 700-unit tower, coming up against preservationists determined to maintain the character of classic Boul Mich buildings from the early 20th century. Compromises and changed plans suggested the high-rise would be built, and the developeres even purchased the air rights of the neighboring building to presumably add more stories. But CIB Bank launched foreclosure proceedings against Gardner in 2004 and scuttled the entire plan, expressed in an optimistic ad that proclaimed "luxury has a new address." Auctioned in 2005 to Renaissant Development for $25.3M, the land went undeveloped through the real estate bust and was sold to an affiliate of First American Bank for $11.3 million in 2010 (check out the auction brochure).
According to records, the bank currently owns the property, and likely could sell for a handsome profit. It remains to be seen whether anything more than cars will cover that valuable ground in the South Loop.
·From the archives: 1000 S. Michigan [Chicago Journal]
·Previous South Loop coverage [Curbed]