The Sinclair, an upcoming apartment tower, is moving towards construction as demolition preparations have begun at the northwest corner of Clark and Division Streets. The existing Jewel-Osco store at the location, which has been the source of this project's commonly applied nickname of "Tower of Jewel" among development watchers, has officially closed as of last weekend and a small work crew has begun a tear down of the grocery store's interior. The project will become the city's second largest transit oriented development (TOD) presently under construction (after Block 37) as the new structures will sit directly on top of the CTA's newly expanded Clark/Division Red Line station which has entrances at each end of the block.
The new apartment units are split between two buildings, a 35-story, 390-unit tower containing a new and expanded Jewel grocery store at ground level, as well as a conversion and vertical expansion of a four story office building across the street into an eight story, 98-unit rental building with additional ground floor retail. The taller tower has been a sticking point among the many community meetings which have dragged the approval process on for about two years. As such, the project shrank and grew in width, which ironically, blocks more views than a taller and more slender design would.
Although the single story Jewel and its large surface parking lot have occupied the proposed tower site for quite a while, this particular property was always envisioned to have a taller tower on it since the days of Carl Sandburg Village's concept planning back in the 1960s, serving as a bookend to the line of modernist tower and townhouse blocks to the north. The Sinclair was originally planned for about 50 stories, before shrinking to 42 and then dropping yet again to its present mold for 35 stories, but it's still going to pack a visual punch, topping out at 420 feet and restoring an urban streetwall to the block.
The parking ratio is set to be 0.5 for the new apartments, plus an additional 100 spaces for the reestablished Jewel store, meaning that despite the location atop the city's busiest rail line, about 344 spaces in total could be consolidated into the tower's offset podium, which will then be topped with a landscaped roof deck and an outdoor pool. The parking will be sandwiched into three levels between the amenity deck and the the Jewel store, while the tower's massing is placed to the west with a flush facade and uninterrupted occupied living spaces greeting the sidewalk. The tower will also bridge over an existing public alley which currently bisects the surface parking lot, which will work to conceal the new grocery store's loading docks as well as ingress access to the parking garage.
And of course, just 1 block to the west, more big changes are expected as Atrium Village's redevelopment also starts rolling forward with Phase 1.