After purchasing the parking lot from the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, developers planned to break ground on a 28-story condo. That was nearly two years ago and the space, owned by Lexington Homes, remains empty and locked up.
It’s unclear when the project located at 1022-1028 N. Dearborn Parkway will break ground, and there isn’t any indication that construction will start soon.
In 2016, the Chicago Plan Commission approved the rezoning request for the 50-unit condominium project. Lexington Homes purchased the property from the Ruth Page Foundation for $16.6 million, according to a spokesperson from KIG CRE, the firm which brokered the sale.
The project was supposed to begin construction in the summer of 2016 and development plans included 50 condominium units and 87 parking spots. Neither Lexington Homes nor Pappageorge Haymes Partners, the architecture firm handling the project, said whether the original plans for the development had changed.
In a statement, Jeff Benach, principal of Lexington Homes, confirmed that the company still owns the property and is still working on the project but declined to give further details. In 2016 it was reported that HFF was hired to sell the parking lot after the zoning was approved.
“When we decide exactly how and when it will get executed, we’ll let everyone know,” Benach said via a spokesperson in an email, adding that the firm may have more news in a few months.
Meanwhile, as the lot sits empty, visitors must now find nearby metered parking, pay for valet parking during special events, or pay for discounted parking at the Newberry Plaza or at the LAZ Parking lot, said Silvino da Silva, director of marketing and communications at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts.
The lot was free for visitors to use. The center considered charging visitors for parking, but found monitoring the lot to be too much of a hassle, da Silva said. The center hasn’t heard yet from Lexington Homes about the status of the project or how the construction will impact center visitors, he said.
Due to the recession, the center’s endowment suffered significantly. Selling the lot, da Silva said, was a way to restore its financial security and prevent it from moving to another space in a different neighborhood, which would have impacted its visitors and resident artists.
Proceeds from the sale also went toward much-needed maintenance ranging from replacing the Center’s original boiler and replacing the windows to adding glass exterior doors and a digital wall featuring images of the artists-in-residence.
“The parking lot, as much as we loved the convenience of it was never large enough to accommodate everybody needed to use it,” da Silva said. The center reasoned that “If we sold the parking lot, that would give us an infusion of capital that we could strategically invest and that would give us a lifeline to long-term sustainability.”
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