Last night development plans were shown to Lincoln Park residents for 31 rental units above retail spaces split between two properties located halfway between the redevelopment of Lincoln Center and the former campus of Children's Memorial Hospital. The two properties in question are located at 2448 and 2462 North Lincoln Avenue, both of which are now corner buildings straddling both sides of Montana Street. Under the current proposal presented by BlitzLake Partners, both existing buildings would be demolished and replaced with two four story mixed use structures designed by Piekarz Associates.
The southern site at 2448 North Lincoln presently encompasses a single two story brick and terra cotta structure on a property spanning approximately 9000 square feet in size. The replacement building would stand in at floor floors, with three floors of apartments above 5131 square feet of retail as well as ground level parking for 6 cars and a loading berth aligned to the existing rear alley. In total, the new structure would be about 26,000 square feet in size with an apartment mix of studios to two bedroom units and one three bedroom unit, some of which would have access to recessed balconies. The retail entrance would be located at the corner of Lincoln and Montana, with the possibility of a second retail entrance positioned along Lincoln if the interior ground floor space was subdivided for two tenants.
Meanwhile on the smaller site to the north, a two and half story frame building with a masonry rear addition covers the entirety of a single Chicago lot, albeit one with a shorter depth than the standard 125 feet of length. This frame building featured apartments above a bar named Hi-Tops which had occupied the ground floor. This would be replaced with 9 one bedroom apartments, with three units per floor above 1,200 square feet of retail. In total, this replacement building would span 10,462 square feet and would include two parking spaces.
The development sites are located 750 feet from the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) Fullerton Station serving the Red, Brown and Purple Lines, allowing the development team to tap a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) bonus. The TOD location allows the new buildings to only include a total of 8 parking spaces, rather than 31 for the standard 1:1 ratio that the existing B3-3 zoning would otherwise require. Resident leases for the apartments would also explicitly prohibit access to residential permit parking as well as guest passes for the surrounding parking zones on the neighborhood streets. Both new buildings would have bicycle rooms, providing a minimum of one space per apartment.
The TOD bonus also allows for Floor Area Ratio (FAR) increase of 0.5 above the existing maximum of 3.0 while still working within the existing zoning. Additionally, the TOD bonus reduces the minimum lot area requirements for eligible sites, which can allow for more units than would otherwise be allowed. In this particular case, it allows the northern building to have 9 units rather than 8 as would have otherwise been the maximum.
While the existing buildings extend to the rear of the lot, the existing zoning would have required anything above the commercial ground floor to have a 30 foot rear setback. As such, the development team is also seeking a zoning variance to allow for the residential floors to come to the rear of the lot as well. A two foot setback along the alley would be included in the plans for both buildings, as is required by the Chicago Department of Transportation for new commercial construction.
Both new buildings would have residential entrances positioned along Montana Street where residents would walk into a small elevator lobby to reach the upper floors. The unit sizes would average 500 square foot for studios, 700 square foot for one bedrooms and 930 square foot two bedrooms with projected rents of approximately $3.00 per square foot. The development team cited a local and nationwide trend with millennials opting to rent instead of own and willing to pay higher rents for premium locations while often taking on a smaller unit size. The commercial spaces would rent for $20-$30 per square foot, but the developers mentioned willingness to reduce the rate if they feel the prospective tenant would be a good fit for the buildings.
In regards to the more ornate building at 2448 North Lincoln, the development team noted the poor state of repair and a inefficient interior layout of both the residential and retail floors. The building was studied but determined to be not in a workable condition for the needs to today's market, particularly for the retail spaces which today are geared towards spaces with higher ceilings and larger front windows. The exterior terra cotta ornamentation was described as "Not a original but a replica of a Louis Sullivan style building"
However, Ward Miller of Preservation Chicago who was in attendance mentioned that the building dating back to 1923 was in fact 'orange rated' on the Chicago Historic Resources Survey and was nonetheless designed by the notable Chicago architectural firm of Rissman & Hirschfeld who also worked on the Cedar Hotel in the Gold Coast now being redeveloped as an 18 story Viceroy Hotel featuring a facadectomy, as well as the Knickerbocker Hotel (originally known as the Davis Hotel). The terra cotta was supplied by the Midland Terra Cotta Company who supplied the tile and masonry pieces to multiple buildings bearing the "Sullivanesque Style" of ornamentation throughout the city.
The orange rating on the building places a 90 day hold on the demolition permit request while the architectural integrity of the building is examined by the city. If everything as shown was in fact approved through the use of the TOD bonus and zoning variance, the development team could expect building permits to be ready in 4 to 6 months with ground breaking in the spring. However, it is likely that the design could still very well change before any construction begins. The developer BlitzLake Partners has experience in constructing infill TOD projects, including the development now underway on the northwest corner of Belmont and Clark.
• Demolition Begins on Two Lincoln Avenue Sites with More Projects on the Way [Curbed Chicago]
• Transit-Oriented Lincoln Avenue Rental Project Ready to Move Forward [Curbed Chicago]
• Children's Memorial Hospital Demolition Date Pushed from April to Early June [Curbed Chicago]
• 18 Story Viceroy Hotel to Open on State Street by 2017 [Curbed Chicago]
• Checking in on the Construction Happening at Belmont and Clark [Curbed Chicago]