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Two-building condo development near McDonald’s future HQ shown to West Loop neighbors

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The project would deliver a total of 56 high-end, multi-bedroom units to the booming neighborhood

A development featuring a pair of nearly identical 9-story, 28-unit condo buildings was revealed last night to West Loop neighbors at a public meeting held at the Merit School of Music. Proposed for 1111 W. Washington Boulevard and 19 N. May Street, the Booth Hansen-designed twins would rise just steps from McDonald’s upcoming 600,000-square-foot corporate headquarters slated for the former site of Oprah’s Harpo TV Studios.

The project comes from Chicago-based Peerless Real Estate Investment and aims to deliver the kind of large, multi-bedroom, "family-style" condo product that the West Loop neighborhood groups have been requesting ever since the current trend of smaller rental units with minimal parking took off. Featuring two parking spaces per unit and just four homes per typical floor, the Washington/May project will be pricey — possibly fetching as much as $500 per square foot.

Despite giving the West Loopers exactly what they’ve been asking for, several neighbors living in the immediate vicinity of the project took issue with the buildings’ 110-foot height and the lack of active use along the ground floors. The complaints came as somewhat of a surprise to 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr., who admitted he was expecting a slightly "easier meeting." Burnett would represent one of the proposed buildings with the other situated in 25th Ward of Alderman Danny Solis.

Both parcels are currently zoned DX-3 which allows for up to 50 units each and no height restrictions. While the development team is pitching a project that is less dense than what is currently permitted (at least when it comes to pure unit count), the proposal’s 5.5 Floor Area Ratio (FAR) means a zoning change to DX-7 via the Planned Development (PD) process will need to take place.

Because the FAR exceeds 5.0, a payment into Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund is also expected. No affordable units will be included on-site, but Peerless will be providing funding for six off-site affordable-rate units as per the city requirements.

Provided approvals go smoothly, the developers hope to break ground on the Washington building in April or May of 2017 and anticipate a 15- to 18- month construction timeline. Work will start on the May Street parcel at a later date to allow the current commercial tenants more time to move out.