Attention downtown land owners: you can sell your ugly parking lots for cash and someone will probably build a 24-story apartment tower on it. That's the idea Assumption Church in River North had when it needed to raise funds to support its aging roster of servites who live and work at the 134-year-old Catholic church. The parking lot along Franklin and Illinois Streets has been owned and used privately by the church, but with property values in River North climbing ever toward the heavens they've partnered with mega-developer John Buck in a deal that includes selling the parking lot to Buck, Buck building an apartment tower on it, the church owning some of the parking spaces in the building's garage, and Buck renovating and expanding the two-story annex building to the west where staff residences and offices are, as well as redesigning the public garden on the northwest corner of the property. It was clearly a complicated deal approached carefully by Assumption and with a lot of concessions and perks for the church, so it's probably impossible to say exactly how much the parking lot was sold for. But if you hold the deed to a parking lot somewhere in River North or the Loop (perhaps one of the parking lots we've highlighted previously), please follow the example set by Assumption Church and consider selling your lot to someone.
The apartment tower was designed by local firm FitzGerald Associates and is going by the moniker 3Eleven after its 311 W Illinois address. The current plan for the 24-story building is to include 245 apartments, a mixture of studio, one- and two-bedroom units with a handful of three-bedroom units. The garage features 109 spaces, a refreshingly low parking ratio that speaks to changing tastes toward car ownership downtown. The ground floor includes around 3,000 square feet of retail space with the option of a second floor of retail.
Neighborhood complaints at the public unveiling of the project were as expected: Don't block my view, don't congest my streets, don't lower my property values, etc. Alderman Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward has heard these same complaints at every one of these meetings he's organized and has seemed to grow weary of them, offering trite condolences to people whose views would be altered with the consolation that his own River North view has been affected by the ongoing development boom.
Father John Fontana of Assumption Church said they would not consider any deals for the property that didn't include the guarantee of ownership for 35 parking spaces to be used by chuch members, which Buck was happy to concede to. In order to protect the church, which doesn't yet have landmark status, the construction crew plans to use vibration monitors and expensive heavy wall caisson liners in order to reduce the risk of damage.
·Developer Proposes 23-Story Tower for River North Parking Lot [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous River North coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Apartment Boom Town archives [Curbed Chicago]