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Gold Coast 'Tower of Jewel' Officially Breaks Ground After Years in the Making

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One of the Gold Coast's seediest blocks is poised for transformation as developer Fifield Companies has officially broken ground on its long-awaited 35-story luxury apartment tower located at Clark and Division. Officially dubbed The Sinclair in June, many development-watchers will be more familiar with this project by its completely informal nickname, "Tower of the Jewel." The $200 million development replaces the aging Jewel supermarket at 1210 N. Clark Street with a new and expanded 55,000 square foot flagship store, parking garage, and 390 residential units ranging in size from studios to four-bedroom penthouses. Architecture is handled by Chicago's Solomon Cordwell Buenz and bears a familiar exterior resemblance to previous Fifield developments such as K-Station's K2 tower. Located literally on top of the newly-expanded Clark/Division CTA Red Line stop, the Sinclair represents the epitome of Transit-Oriented Development, offering a 0.5 parking ratio plus additional spots reserved for Jewel customers. The new parking garage with its 24-hour security should be a welcome improvement over the previously existing surface lot that drew the attention of the Chicago Police Department far more often than many neighbors appreciated. In addition to adding a flagship supermarket to the neighborhood, The Sinclair also includes improved CTA access and various streetscape enhancements to further brighten up this unusually blighted stretch of otherwise desirable Gold Coast locale.

If patience is indeed a virtue, Fifield Cos. must be well on its way to becoming a guru considering that the firm originally announced their plans for site as far back as May of 2012.The drawn-out approval process involved a somewhat Byzantine process of swapping air rights and allowable density between the developers and the site's low-rise neighbors. The situation was further complicated by city politics when the area suddenly found itself redistricted into the new 2nd Ward at a time when former Alderman Bob Fioretti's attention was presumably more focused on his run for mayor rather than development issues in a faraway neighborhood he had never planned on representing. Community opposition ultimately resulted in the tower portion of the proposal being reworked from an initial height of 50 stories down to 42, then again down to 38, and finally to the 35 floors as approved by the city earlier this year. With demolition complete and construction now underway, it's almost surreal to imagine The Sinclair will finally begin rising after its lengthy and contentious gestation period.

·Gold Coast Jewel Shutters to Make Way for New Store and Apartment Tower [Curbed Chicago]
·Tower of Jewel Moving Forward, Project Named 'The Sinclair' [Curbed Chicago]
·All previous Tower of Jewel coverage [Curbed Chicago]