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New Five-Story Office Building Planned for Hot Fulton Market Area

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The plan would replace a surface parking lot while a neighboring loft building is renovated

The booming Fulton Market District had another development proposal unveiled last night. The proposal was presented by Summit Design+Build and the plans drawn up by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture will feature a renovation of an existing loft building, plus new construction replacing a surfacing parking lot.

The existing building is located at 1032 West Fulton Market, directly on the northwestern corner of Fulton Market and Carpenter Street. The three story building is approximately 75 feet wide and 100 feet deep and will have a single floor addition added to the existing roof, setback from both street frontages with an open roof deck. The property falls within the new Fulton Market Historic District and the existing building is a contributing structure. As such, the fourth floor addition is to be set back and not visible from the perspective of a passing pedestrian, as is required for any vertical expansion of contributing structures within a landmark district.

Summit Design+Build is headquartered in the existing building, which it purchased and renovated 10 years ago. At the time, the existing building was a former food business consistent with historic nature of the Fulton corridor as a wholesale meat market. The building had been empty and was in poor condition while the property immediately to the west was an unimproved weedy lot. After renovating the building and converting the vacant lot into surface parking, the structure was partitioned into a commercial condo with the first floor sold off to a second business operating under the name Webb DeVlam.

Summit is now planning to develop the neighboring parking lot into four-story commercial office building with a set back fifth floor. The new building will be structurally independent and will become a new headquarters for the developer who is in need of additional space and is looking to expand its employment from a present headcount of 25 employees. The design firm Webb deVlam will then also expand into the upper floors of the existing loft building, allowing both businesses to remain in place and expand in the process.

The new building design has four window bays facing onto Fulton Market, a change from an initial concept featuring three bays. The change occurred through negotiations with the Landmarks Commission using the design guidelines set forth within the Fulton Market Innovation District Plan which was drafted to assist with ensuring new construction has a contextual nod to the area, but not necessarily try to mirror or replicate the historic architecture. The exterior of the new building will be a mix of terra cotta accented with black metal panels used for the first floor as well as the spandrels between the windows.

The project is seeking an simple upzoning rather than using the planned development process. The current (and very low density) zoning of C1-1 is actually the result of a district wide downzoning which occurred 15 years ago to prevent further encroachment of residential as the neighborhood began to change and transition away from industrial and commercial uses. The zoning would be changed to a C1-5, allowing for a floor area ratio of 5.0, although only 4.0 is currently planned with the current design.

The site's close proximity to the Morgan Street station of the Chicago Transit Authority's Green and Pink Lines is within the boundaries of the Transit Oriented Development provisions, and as such, parking requirements are significantly reduced. A small ground level parking pad aligned to the existing rear alley will allow for a total nine spaces, four of which will be through the use of tandem spaces which can park two cars each. Additional parking was considered through using the basement of the existing building, but this would cost roughly $1 million to add a ramp and would only materialize approximately eight new parking spaces.

The new building would have a ground floor flush with the sidewalk and would include a single retail space spanning approximately 2,800 square feet.

The type 1 rezoning would allow the approval to move swiftly once the process begins and the project is expected to be completed next year.