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West Loop luxury condo proposal returns with minor tweaks

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Despite the project’s high price and low unit count, some neighbors are crying foul

Last night developer TARIS Real Estate publicly re-presented its plan for a 10-story luxury condo building proposed for 900 W. Washington Boulevard in Chicago’s hoppin’ West Loop. According to architect Austin DePree of Northworks, not much has changed since the proposal was last shown to neighbors one year ago. Since that time, the unit count has come down slightly from 24 to 22 and parking spaces have been bumped to 24 from 23. The biggest tweak has come to the building’s cladding. Originally specified as raw architectural concrete with a dark paint or stain, the exterior has switched to a fade-resistant composite stone. Known as Dekton, the material is expected to age much more gracefully after long-term exposure to Chicago’s extreme variable climate.

The design of 900 W. Washington calls for parking ingress and egress off of Peoria Street as well as a rear alley. Though the project will see little in the way of streetscape improvements, the ground floor garage is expected to be wrapped in some sort of green wall or public art. Residents wishing to up their parking allotment will also have the option of installing auto lifts. Containing no common interior hallways, elevators will open directly into the building’s spacious, multi-bedroom "family style" units. The top two levels are set back roughly 15 feet from the street and will be occupied by a pair of 5,500-square-foot duplex penthouses.

While the project is not seeking a Planned Development (PD) with the city of Chicago, it is looking for a zoning increase from DX-3 to to DX-7 to allow a height of 132 feet and a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of roughly 6.0. Despite the low unit count and the decision to build condos over rental units, a number of neighbors had unkind words regarding the proposal. The majority of dissent came from the neighboring building at 110 N. Peoria. Residents of the former industrial building expressed their displeasure with the size and density of the proposed building as well as concerns that the project could damage their building’s 100-year-old foundation.

Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. vowed to listen to all concerns and help connect residents of 110 N. Peoria with the project’s developer and its contractors. Burnett also took the opportunity to reiterate the fact that a 30-unit, 15-parking stall development could be built as-of-right under the site’s pre-existing zoning with no community feedback or engagement. Such a project would likely be rental units and feature vastly inferior materials and finishes to make sense financially. Though Burnett remained noncommittal on the requested zoning change, TARIS hopes to be in the ground by December and potentially wrap construction by late 2017. While pricing is still being finalized, units could go fetch as much as $1,000 per square foot.