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Chicago Plan Commission Approves 1000 South Michigan

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The scaled back Helmut Jahn design is now moving towards approval as a 73-story tower rising to 832 feet in height.

The Helmut Jahn designed 73-story tower proposed for 1000 South Michigan is one step closer to construction after approval from the Chicago Plan Commission yesterday. The proposal by New York-based JK Equities and Time Equities is essentially the same concept that was presented to neighbors in a community meeting at the end of February, featuring 506 units split between rental apartments in the lower floors and for-sale condominiums in the upper floors of the tower. The building design begins with a rectilinear footprint at ground level, but flairs outward as it rises, eventually taking on a more trapezoidal form towards the top, which features a private outdoor amenity deck for the future condo dwellers.

The planned development boundary covers not only the present surface parking lot at 1000 South Michigan Avenue, but also the neighboring eight-story building at 1006 South Michigan. It is over this neighboring building that the tower extends outward, similar to an earlier Jahn-designed project at 600 North Fairbanks in Streeterville. In doing so, the development team is making more space available to sell on the higher-priced upper floors while crafting a unique shape for the building. The tower will anchor the southern end of the Historic Michigan Avenue Boulevard District, a landmark district protecting the historic streetwall of facades extending northward from this block towards Randolph Street. While the site is empty and does not presently contribute to the streetwall, the location required negotiations with the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and ultimately resulted in the shortening of the tower's height from an initial 1030 feet to a current proposal topping out at 832 feet.

The tower rises from an 11-story podium base extending westward into the interior of the block featuring a parking garage with 486 spaces. The garage would be entered through a private driveway that is to be constructed on an easement through the edge of an existing surface parking lot to the west of the tower site and extending north to 9th Street. Although this parking lot will have a driveway placed through it, it is not owned by the development team. The developers do however own a small sliver of property extending westward to 1011-15 South Wabash, currently a surface lot with 12 parking spaces aligned to an existing alley. This small parking lot will remain as is after the tower is constructed. The garage will have parking on floors 2-11, although the street facing Michigan Avenue side of the tower will be occupied by rental apartments, thus completely shielding the parking garage from view. The 12th floor of the tower then aligns with the top of the garage podium and features an amenity deck for the residents.

The development team received a density bonus for designing the tower with concealed parking and upper level setbacks, bonuses that are currently available in the highest classifications of zoning, but could be soon eliminated with a proposed expansion of downtown zoning which includes a revision of the density bonus system. The properties encompassing the planned development boundaries are currently split between DX-12 and DX-16, offering a base floor area ratio (FAR) of 12.0 and 16.0 respectively. The development team is seeking to have the entire planned development rezoned to a uniform zoning of DX-16 while entering into the planned development process where the bonuses are then applied. Combined with payment of $828,502.40 into the city's affordable trust fund, the development then acquires a total FAR of 21.085.

The residential units range from studios to four bedrooms in size and will have an overall average of approximately 1,272 square feet. The building will feature 2,700 square feet of ground floor commercial space and will have 13,000 square feet of green roof. A sales center is expected to open by this summer in the neighboring building at 1006 South Michigan while construction is planned to begin in 2017.