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Mixed-Income Development at Former City Farm Site Begins to Take Shape

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The project is adding 84 housing units and new retail to the rapidly-changing area

Construction work on the mixed-use, mixed-income development at 1200 N Clybourn has steadily progressed at the former home of the City Farm community garden since the site was cleared back in January. With foundation work complete, the most notable addition to the worksite has been an enormous red Manitowoc crawler crane.

While the hulking piece of equipment might seem like overkill for the relatively modest seven-story job, its grunt is needed to hoist the project’s large pre-cast concrete panels into place. The long arm of the crane also allows crews to reach the corners of the chevron-shaped build site from the rear with minimal traffic disruptions along Clybourn and Division.

Designed by Pappageorge Haymes Partners, 1200 N Clybourn is the product of a partnership between Brinshore Development and Michaels Development Company. It will see 26 public housing units, 26 affordable rate units, 32 market rate units, and 17,000 square feet of retail added to the ambiguous area that is either Near North, River North, Old Town, or Cabrini Green depending on whom you ask. The development is also expected to include a vegetable garden and rooftop apiary (bee housing) as well as daycare facility and a restaurant with on-site job training for qualifying CHA residents.

Cabrini Green is on the cusp of a major transformation with an initial masterplan outlining the addition of between 2,330 and 2,830 residences among new low-, mid-, and high-density projects spread across the area's 65 acres of vacant or underdeveloped land. The area was also recently included in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to expand downtown zoning boundaries so it remains to be seen how City Hall's proposed increase in allowable height and density will effect existing redevelopment plans.