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Plan Commission Approves Mega Mall, Lincoln Park Inn Redevelopment Projects

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Yesterday's meeting of the Chicago Plan Commission had another busy agenda of well known projects, including the long anticipated redevelopment of the Mega Mall in Logan Square and the Inn at Lincoln Park on Diversey Parkway, as well as Fulton Market's next big office project. The meeting first opened with a new 23-story, 55-unit condo tower by Smithfield Properties at Chicago Avenue and Wells Street and then moved onto the white hot Near West Side.

The second item on the agenda featured the Sterling Bay's newest eight-story project containing 295,000-square-feet of office and restaurant space at 1300-1344 West Fulton Street in the burgeoning Fulton Market corridor. The site now contains the three-story shell of a unfinished reinforced concrete structure and parking garage which started construction in 1999 for a technology business, but had stopped work in 2000 and has remained vacant ever since. The proposed redesign of the project by Gensler, plans a five-story brick base to emulate the existing brick loft structures of the surrounding area and then topped the structure with a lighter material palette for the uppermost three floors. The unfinished parking garage would also be completed as part of the project and would stand in at eight floors high as well, plus two additional floors of parking placed below ground for 610 spaces in total. The site is also located halfway between CTA stations at Morgan and Ashland, both serving the Green and Pink Lines.

The new Planned Development boundary will include an existing office building and will place a landscaped courtyard between the newly completed structure and the existing loft office building. All together, the project is expected to generate $3.1 million in property and parking taxes annually. Sterling Bay has a history of working with its tenants to get involved with local residents and plans to do so with this latest project.

·Previous 1300-1344 W Fulton coverage [Curbed Chicago]

Returning to the Plan Commission this month was the project at Clark Street and North Avenue, which includes the redevelopment of the historic Village Theater and Germaia Club. Listed on the agenda as 1546 North Clark, previously approved project is increasing in height by 11 feet 6 inches to add a level of parking at the at the second floor. Currently being marketed under the name 101 North, the project will feature 33 very high-end condominiums. The developer could have built as many as 48 units on site, as was previously approved, but the location has shown interest with buyers wanting bigger units and more on-site parking.

With the bump in height, minor changes were made to the design. while still clad primarily in brick, the second floor is now also clad in limestone. The uppermost floor was to be clad in a string of limestone as well, but this has since been removed. A overhanging projection at 24 feet above the sidewalk was also added to create an additional distinction between the base and the remainder of the proposed building.

The revised design by Main Architecture will stand in at 10 floors and 128'-6" in height. The project also includes1 unit on upper floors of landmarked Germania Club to the south.

Previous 101 North coverage [Curbed Chicago]

Next on the agenda was the long anticipated redevelopment of the Mega Mall, stretching along the 2500 Block of North Milwaukee Avenue. The latest plan by Developer Terraco and architecture firm Antunovich Associates proposes 114,000 square feet of retail and 220 units, a reduction from 270 as well as splitting the building into two structures and a design shift from modern to postmodern. What had been originally a single structure rising to eight floors was then scaled down into a seven-story structure at the south end of the block and a six-story structure at the north end. The site also includes the surface parking lot beneath and to the west of the CTA's elevated tracks carrying the Blue Line through the site, and will remain in use for parking. Vehicular access for the both the surface parking an the proposed internal garage will be through a new signalized intersection, bisecting the long block between the proposed structures. A pedestrian bridge at the fourth floor would link the structures together over the new driveway.

The planned retail would line the ground floor of both structures with the north building having the space split into multiple smaller shops and the south building having one large continuous space expected to be leased to a grocery store. All of the interior garage spaces would be confined to the south building as well, with parking occupying all of the second through fourth floors, where the pedestrian bridge links to the residences of planned north building. The fifth through seventh floors of the south building would then contain a large retail space for a fitness center and additional residences flanking an outdoor amenity deck set onto a terrace at a fifth floor setback.

Ten percent of the project's proposed 220 units will be classified as affordable housing and the building exteriors will reflect a much more historicist theme than what was initially proposed, including the extensive use of brick and according to renderings, the inclusion of a clock face on the north end of project facing towards Logan Square's namesake open space.

Previous Mega Mall coverage [Curbed Chicago]

Immediately following the Mega Mall redevelopment, another Logan Square project advanced through the plan commission featuring 49 townhomes designed by Pappageorge/Haymes on two large vacant lots located at 2500-20 West Cortland and 2501-31 West Homer Street. The site is located one full block west of the CTA Western Blue Line Station and one full block north of the 606 trail along Bloomingdale Avenue.

The project site plan proposes cutting two new auto courts, paralleling the mid-block alley down the middle of each vacant lot. These auto courts will allow for rear loaded garages for the townhomes facing both Homer and Cortland Streets. Additional sets of townhomes will then front onto the auto courts with the rear garages aligned to the existing alley. All of the residences will be four stories in total height and will include a private roof deck at a fourth floor setback. Exteriors are to be clad in brick with a fiber cement board siding covering the second and third floors. The front elevations will feature a projecting window bay for the second and third floors.

Anticipated average pricing would be about $705,000 per unit. The project will not have on-site affordable housing, by will contribute towards the construction of five nearby affordable housing units to meet the city's 10 percent requirement for zoning changes.

Next on the agenda was the redevelopment of the Inn at Lincoln Park, located at 601 West Diversey Parkway. The proposal features a new eight-story Hampton Inn with 150 hotel rooms and 83 parking spaces designed by Jackie Koo, who also designed The Wit Hotel at State and Lake Streets, the upcoming Marriott Autograph in Streeterville and the cancelled OUT Hotel proposed for Halsted Street in East Lakeview. The hotel is currently a vintage four story building with 77 rooms and 16 parking spaces on site in a small adjacent surface lot. A three story residential building to the south is also owned by the hotel and would be included in the redevelopment project which would demolish both existing structures.

The project used to be much larger in scope, featuring a 14-story building rising to 175 feet in height, which was in fact approved in 2004, but never got off the ground before the recession set in and subsequently forced the project to be cancelled. As no advancement was made in the approved plans, the Planned Development (PD) was subject to a sunset, restoring the site to the original zoning. The lapse in the original PD then forced any new proposal to begin the approval process from scratch, resulting in the long timeline for the redevelopment plans of the property now stretching beyond one decade.

At the request of Alderman Smith, the hotel will include two floors of parking, of which any unused spaces could be opened up for use by neighborhood residents. The entrance to the garage ramp would be from Lehmann Court, next to a porte-cochère serving as the main hotel drop off point. The entrance and lobby of the hotel would be at the ground floor and alongside alongside the porte-cochère, while the Diversey Parkway frontage would be lined with 3 new retail spaces, with at least one envisioned as a restaurant with outdoor seating. The parking would be located on the second and third floors behind a glass exterior with guest rooms on floors four through eight clad in a panelized facade of presently undetermined material. The building would rise to 121 feet to the of the mechanical penthouse and would be topped with a green roof.

It was mentioned that the height of the building is not only significantly lower that what was perviously approved, it is also in context, as the site sits across the street from the 17 story Lincoln Plaza building with 294 rental units. The new hotel would be set back three feet from the south property line to create a small buffer space for the immediate neighbors, and would feature a green wall of climbing plants along the southern facade.

Previous OUT Hotel coverage [Curbed Chicago]
Previous Marriott Autograph coverage [Curbed Chicago]
Previous Inn at Lincoln Park coverage [Curbed Chicago]

Last on the agenda was a proposal to construct what was referred to as an "Asian Mariano's" on the north end of Chinatown at the intersection of 18th and Canal Streets. The single story, 47,000 square foot store designed by Ridgeland Associates would serve as a wholesale grocery with areas dedicated for a food court, restaurant and live fish market. Once compete, the store is expected to employ 100 people from the local neighborhood.

Shawn Ursini