After a long wait, it appears that the new Vue53 development near 53rd Street and Kenwood Avenue in Hyde Park is finally about to break ground. A recent post on the SkyscraperPage Forums provides a photo of a laminated sign attached to the perimeter fencing at the site, indicating that McHugh Construction plans on starting excavation duties around March 26, 2015. McHugh is a major general contractor and is often seen on large projects downtown, producing skyscrapers such as Aqua and The Regatta in Lake Shore East. The site was previously home to a Mobile gas station and carwash as well as an adjacent surface parking lot. The proposal calls for a 13 story building featuring 267 apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail with a distinctively modern design which was produced by the studio of Valerio Dewalt Train Associates. Because the planned building replaces two auto-centric uses, the traffic study determined an expected drop in morning traffic counts once the building is complete.
The proposal generated a massive amount of pushback from Hyde Park residents, with some even going as far as taking legal action to prevent the development from moving forward. Neighbors criticized the project for being too tall and out of context despite Hyde Park already having an inventory of highrise buildings constructed over the last century, with similar sized buildings existing just a few blocks to the east.
After running through community meetings and formal city approvals, the neighbors fought back with a lawsuit that was dismissed from court on January 27, 2014. Neighbors vowed to appeal and this has stalled the project even though the site has long been cleared and foundation permits were approved by the city on May 21, 2014. However despite the long battle royal with a few of its neighbors, Vue53 looks like it is ready to finally plant roots in Hyde Park.
— Shawn Ursini