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Old March 3rd, 2006, 10:54 PM   #1
The Urban Politician
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South Side Development News

It appears that the original "da south side" thread has disappeared, in a rather mysterious fashion.

Whoever cloaked and kidnapped away that ill-fated thread shall forever elude me.

But until then, I hereby declare this the new South Side development thread. Any south side development topic that doesn't already belong in a specific thread shall go here.
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 11:03 PM   #2
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I noticed this a while ago when I was going to post an article and couldn't find the topic in the first few pages.

What was the purpose in closing the topic unless it had 500 posts? Even then there could have been some warning so we could have saved the most important info in it.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 08:08 AM   #3
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Wow. that thread literally is gone. No 404 error, no redirect. Just a blank page.

http://skyscrapercity.com/archive/index.php/t-152116
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Old March 5th, 2006, 12:12 AM   #4
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Was that a capitulation to Joe Zekas, if that South Side thread had lots of copyrighted material on it?
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Old March 5th, 2006, 05:23 AM   #5
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That's actually an interesting theory. I doubt we'll ever get a reason, however.
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Old March 5th, 2006, 05:58 PM   #6
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http://www.suntimes.com/output/busin...nws-iit05.html

Technology park to spiff up IIT campus
March 5, 2006
BY SANDRA GUY Business Reporter

The once-fledgling technology park on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology is brimming with new tenants and sprouting a landscape makeover.

The University Technology Park at IIT, to be built in three phases over 10 years, is the largest commercial investment on Chicago's South Side since the construction of the new Sox stadium in the early 1990s
Its makeover will show off a campus of greenery where sterile concrete reigned: A $1.5 million landscaped gateway is being installed on the campus' neglected southernmost border at 35th Street.

A block-long area of on-street and surface-lot parking along Dearborn between 34th and 35th streets, adjacent to the new main entrance to the technology park, is being removed this spring to make way for a pedestrian parkway filled with native trees, as well as sedge grass and columbine perennial flowers. The project covers 1.3 acres.

Cars will no longer be allowed on Dearborn from the old 34th Street to 35th Street, but emergency vehicles will have access, said Peter Lindsay Schaudt, founder and design principal of his namesake landscape architecture firm that's doing the work.

The design will create a parkway feel on 35th Street in an area that historically has been sterile and concrete, in part because IIT's buildings in that area have no windows at grade level, Schaudt said.

Changes environmentally friendly

The landscape architecture firm also is redoing a parking lot at 35th and Dearborn to make it environmentally friendly, in keeping with Mayor Daley's initiatives to build "green" projects citywide. The new pavement will be porous so water can seep into the ground. The design recharges the groundwater and eliminates the need for water to be channeled into storm sewer pipes.

The benefits are a key element to the renaissance that is the $75 million to $80 million first phase of the entire IIT makeover.

Meanwhile, renovation work started in January on Technology Business Center 1, a 126,000-square-foot building at 35th between Dearborn and Federal designed to house technology companies that need sophisticated, build-to-suit laboratory space to do their research.

New neighbors coming soon

The former Chemistry Research Building is being transformed with a dramatic new atrium that soars from ground level to a bold skylight on the roof.

The technology park will ultimately stretch from Wabash on the east to Federal on the west, and from 34th Street to 35th Street. The first phase is expected to cost between $75 million and $80 million, with $25 million from IIT, $13.4 million in city tax-subsidized funding, $12 million in state grants, $8 million in federal historic tax credits, and the remainder in private debt and equity financing.

The park's buildings, once neighbors to now-demolished public housing, will be joined in early 2007 by Park Boulevard, a new community of mixed-income condos, low-rises, town houses, single-family homes and street-level retail.
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Old March 5th, 2006, 06:00 PM   #7
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And to go along with that

http://www.suntimes.com/output/busin...ws-iit05a.html

Startups flock to tech incubator
March 5, 2006
BY SANDRA GUY Business Reporter

The technology incubator at the Illinois Institute of Technology is warming up several companies that hope to go out on their own eventually.

Lured by the $75 million to $80 million first phase of the entire IIT makeover, four new companies have joined two incumbents, All Cel and Alion Science:

Cleversafe is the third startup by local serial entrepreneur Chris Gladwin, who also founded FullAudio and Cruise Technologies. Cleversafe is developing technology that will enable users to save and store their digital photos in a reliable and high-speed way.

Cleversafe opened an office last summer in IIT's incubator building at 3424 S. State, and is in the research and development stage. Of Cleversafe's 25 employees, 19 are current or former IIT students, and an IIT faculty member is also on staff.

"We're getting great productivity and quality," said Gladwin, who was introduced to the tech park as a guest at a luncheon meeting between David Weinstein, president of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, and David Baker, vice president of external affairs for the college.

Cleversafe, initially financed with a seven-figure investment by Gladwin and four company managers, is completing its first round of outside financing from angel investors after turning down several venture-capital offers.

The company expects to roll out products later this year and will move to the 19-story IIT Research Institute tower at 35th and State this summer. Cleversafe's tower office will be twice as big as the current one and will employ 30 to 35, Gladwin said.

NanoFluence Health Inc., a spinoff of Northfield tech firm CogniTek Management Systems, is developing a technology that can stabilize Omega3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, so they can be used to make foods and beverages, said Michael Gurin, founder of both companies.

The proprietary technology, which applies the latest in nanoscale materials, also ensures that other health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol and building bone strength, could be passed on to consumers of the functional foods and beverages.

NanoFluence Health will set up shop at IIT's incubator building in April, and expects to announce a major partnership soon.

Network Black Box is a startup company developing a data backup system for small companies. The system is housed in a server similar to the black box in an airplane, which automatically records and saves flight data on airplanes. The firm will move in to 3424 S. State in the next few weeks.

Air2Access is a local area network provider that deploys and operates high-speed wireless hot spots in marinas and municipal hot zones. It also provides network bridges and wireless video surveillance systems. Air2Access is the first start-up company to occupy the 16th-floor software incubator center in the IIT Tower.
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Old March 5th, 2006, 07:21 PM   #8
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THis is great news.

The ultimate plan, after all 3 phases are completed, include a new building fronting 35th street at State with a large garage building behind it. I like that this is an emerging job center so close to a public transit line. Once Park Boulevard and this project are completed, this area will be completely transformed
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Old March 7th, 2006, 01:51 AM   #9
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There are so many things I like about this project I don't know where to begin. Usually, good news about the economy and about urban planning are separate. But here they seem to be one in the same. Although closing off a street to car traffic makes me nervous. Can any one with more knowledge of the neighborhood give an opinion as to whether that will be a good idea? From the sounds of it, I'm thinking, "Come on guys, haven't we learned from the failure of the State Street Mall, closed in, what, 1996-7?" All in all though, all of this seems like a massive improvement.

I wish Crain's did more reporting on companies like those mentioned here. Sure, many of them will fail, but out of ten that fail, one might succeed in a way that transforms part of the economy. The new ideas and prospects are very exciting. I'd rather see a story about these companies, the employment of which might actually have an impact on Chicago than repeated stories about whose buying hotels downtown.

To me, as an outsider, it seems like the frontiers of redevelopment of Bronzeville are disconnected: one pushing from the south (Hyde Park/Kenwood/UofC-based), one pushing from the north (South Loop), and one from IIT. Will the frontiers finally disappear when these redevelopments merge? I wish the question was when, not whether.
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Old March 26th, 2006, 10:52 PM   #10
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Anything new here? I wish there was a way to retrieve all the info in the old thread.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 03:38 AM   #11
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Dearborn is already "Dearborn Walk" within IIT; this just continues that to its logical end. I've always thought it weird that the Modernists, given a chance to erase the grid entirely to create superblocks, never succeeded in doing so. often the infrastructure still followed the old streets. UIC's focal point sits where Peoria & Polk once intersected, Quincy lives on as a pedway under Federal Plaza, Dearborn is the main spine of IIT.

re: Hyde Park, South Loop, and IIT: I'd say that the lines have finally met at 43rd street. that was always as bad (abandoned) as it got: an entire commercial street simply wiped clean away without a trace. 35th wasn't bad (from McCormick Place south through Prairie Shores to IIT's southern edge), 47th was good, but somewhere between 39th and 43rd everything fell apart. now there's infill under construction everywhere, including along 43rd.
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Old April 8th, 2006, 08:53 PM   #12
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Where there's art, there's action

From the West Loop to Bronzeville, new galleries help signal an area's rebirth

By Johnathon E. Briggs
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 7, 2006

When Bryant Johnson steps outside his art gallery in Bronzeville, he sees a neighborhood being reborn.

Once-empty lots sprout $300,000 condos. Gated parking spaces showcase luxury cars. Spoken Word Cafe and a recently opened comedy-jazz club bustle with black professionals and bohemians.

For Johnson, the cafe and club signal the real arrival of urban renaissance.

"Art creates the place. That's the lifeblood behind the buildings," said Johnson, who three years ago opened his Steelelife Gallery at 47th Street and King Drive.

In Bronzeville, Bridgeport and the Fulton Market area of the West Loop, art galleries are popping up as one of the leading indicators of neighborhoods on the rise, real estate agents and gallery owners say.

Drawn by affordable rents, layers of history and quirky architecture that lends itself to eye-catching show space, art dealers are increasingly opening galleries on the South and Near West Sides, clustering into art districts and tapping the disposable income flowing into gentrifying neighborhoods.

Like the artists before them, many of the gallery owners are urban pioneers who arrived before a wave of residential construction and have helped breathe new life into decaying neighborhoods. Others set up shop later, attracted by what they described as the "raw energy" of an up-and-coming area.

Gallery owners "are not like regular retail businesspeople," said Natalie van Straaten, publisher of Chicago Gallery News. "They are people with cultural vision."

On the South Side, those visions are playing out against the backdrop of vacant lots, run-down storefronts and empty warehouses that sit in the shadow of newly built condos, townhouses and lofts. Retail has been slow in coming, but the art has already arrived.

"I can think back to when there were no galleries in Bronzeville. Now there are five," said Andre Guichard, co-owner of Gallery Guichard, which opened last year at 3521 S. King Drive inside the stately Supreme Life Building, once home to the first black-owned insurance company in the North.

"It's now repeating that cycle that you've seen in Wicker Park, Pilsen and River North," Guichard said.

Already Steelelife's Johnson, Guichard and fellow gallery owners have formed the Bronzeville Art District--between 26th and 47th Streets, mostly along King Drive--to raise the profile of art from the African diaspora and preserve the historic neighborhood as a repository of black culture. It launched in February and features a gallery trolley tour on the third Friday of each month.

A mile west of U.S. Cellular Field, two famous Chinese artists known as the Zhou Brothers bought an 87,000-square-foot Spiegel Brothers warehouse and transformed it into an art center. It opened at 35th and Morgan Streets in 2004 as the four-story hub of a lively colony of artists in Bridgeport. Neighborhood residents since 1986, the brothers also have an arts foundation three blocks north with a sculpture garden and another gallery.

And in the more established West Loop, the Fulton Market area has been dubbed by some gallery owners as "Chicago's version of Chelsea," a reference to the West Manhattan neighborhood near a meatpacking district that has become the center of the New York art scene.

Here in Chicago, meatpackers and wholesale food distributors in warehouses rub shoulders with upscale galleries, chic restaurants, luxury lofts, photography studios and antiques shops. Forklifts and refrigerated trucks share streets with Toyota 4Runners and dog-walkers.

"Often when you see ads for new real estate, they'll say, `Come to this newly developing area. There are galleries and restaurants," van Straaten said. A gallery "certainly does energize and make people aware of an area that they wouldn't otherwise discover."

The pattern itself is not new: Artists move into a down-and-out area, spark a cultural revival and are joined by galleries, restaurants, cafes, newcomers and niche shops. Real estate prices soar, and artists, even art dealers, are pushed out. They then migrate to areas with skimpier rents.

"Eventually you kind of become a victim of your own success," said D. Scott Patria, owner of Function + Art on Fulton Market near Carpenter Street who fears he will be priced out. "My rent has gone up a couple of times mainly because I've helped bring other galleries here."

Four new galleries have opened in the area in the last six months, Patria said.

But city officials and observers of the arts scene note that artists and dealers are increasingly buying their spaces so they can benefit from the rebirth of which they are often harbingers.

"More and more artists are becoming masters of their own destiny," said Cynthia Quick, director of program development for the city's Department of Cultural Affairs.

The city's cultural department has promoted this approach by launching a Web site, www.chicagoartistsresource.org, that helps creative types find living and working space and learn about home and business ownership.

To gallery owner Oskar Friedl, who manages the Zhou Brothers art center and foundation, the West Loop has little future as an arts center because it will soon be overtaken by residential real estate. Single-family homes on Fulton Market easily fetch $1 million.

He predicts the South Side will emerge as the "future art district of Chicago" because of its rich history, affordability and potential for large-scale development.

"Bronzeville and Bridgeport are [destined] to become the most interesting districts," Friedl said. "Bronzeville was the Harlem of Chicago, and Bridgeport has been called the United Nations because there's someone from everywhere here."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...-newslocal-hed
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Old April 12th, 2006, 11:21 AM   #13
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How you do you guys think it will take before the area from the South Loop to Hyde Park becomes connected by nearly total revitalization?
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Old April 14th, 2006, 08:26 PM   #14
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http://www.globest.com/news/517_517/.../144805-1.html

City Renews Efforts to Spur South Shore Rehab
By Mark Ruda
Last updated: April 14, 2006 07:53am

CHICAGO-An eight-year effort to redevelop two blocks on South Stony Island Avenue has been rekindled, with city officials moving to acquire property in the 6700 and 6800 blocks. For the third time since 1998, the Department of Planning and Development has received authority to acquire seven parcels from the community development commission.

Among the properties is a vacant 87-year-old bank building, and the Department of Planning and Development wants to see the facade preserved, says Lisa Hope-Washington. Other properties include a storage facility, mixed-use building and vacant lots, Hope-Washington says.

Although no specific development plan is on the table, city officials have talked with potential developers, who all have been stymied in attempts to begin work. Foremost among the hurdles has been the ability to acquire properties at prices close to fair market value. While the city has had acquisition authority for as long as eight years, owners of the properties have set unrealistic prices, says at least one developer.

Meanwhile, attempts to get the current owners to improve their properties have been unsuccessful. “We’ve tried to engage the owners of the properties to become a part of the community to invest in their businesses. That has failed to materialize,” says 5th Ward Alderman Leslie A. Hairston. “The failure to develop their properties indicate a disinterest in the community at large. This has been like running up against a brick wall.”

While renewing the department’s acquisition authority, the community development commission’s decision came on a rare less than unanimous vote. Commission member Rafael Leon voted against the measure.

With acquisition authority, the Department of Planning and Development can order appraisals to determine the cost of buying the properties, Hope-Washington says. In addition, the department could prepare a request for proposals, which could be used to solicit developers.

The abandoned bank building at 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. changed hands last year for $75,000, according to property records.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 07:13 PM   #15
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If you guys go to Chicago's Dept of Planning and Devt website you'll see a new press release about some development planned at 47th and Cottage Grove, a long vacant site. It will have some residential units as well as a three story commercial building with a masonry facade. Does anybody know any more about this (renderings, etc)?

Sorry, but I'm on a stupid eMac right now so I can't cut and paste the article
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Old April 29th, 2006, 07:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Urban Politician
If you guys go to Chicago's Dept of Planning and Devt website you'll see a new press release about some development planned at 47th and Cottage Grove, a long vacant site. It will have some residential units as well as a three story commercial building with a masonry facade. Does anybody know any more about this (renderings, etc)?

Sorry, but I'm on a stupid eMac right now so I can't cut and paste the article
My bank is i=on the corner of 47th and Cottage Grove, there's a McDonalds, liquor store and Auto Parts store. I know the northwest corner of 47th and Drexel is going to be redeveloped. It good though, because both streets need help.
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Old April 30th, 2006, 03:09 PM   #17
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...realestate-hed

CITY REPORT
Residential slated for Drexel Blvd.

Plans for condos, single-family units

By Jeanette Almada
Special to the Tribune
Published April 30, 2006

A developer will buy vacant city-owned land along Drexel Boulevard in the North Kenwood/Oakland neighborhood for two projects that will advance the resurgence of the grand boulevard.

"There is a deep market for residential units in [North Kenwood] and especially on Drexel," said Mark Sutherland, a partner in Chicago-based Sutherland/Pearsall Development Corp.

The Community Development Commission this month approved the sale of the 6,569-square-foot parcel at 4000 S. Drexel Blvd., the southwest corner of 40th Street and Drexel Boulevard, to Sutherland/Pearsall. City Council approval is needed.

The developer will pay the appraised market-rate price, $267,000, and will build a four-story condominium building with 13 units and an elevator.

The $3.7 million project's two- and three-bedroom condominiums will range from 1,100 to 1,400 square feet and $190,000 to $335,000, Sutherland said. "We are still in process of finalizing prices but the price will include one indoor parking space per unit," he said.

About half of the units that Sutherland/Pearsall has built to date on Drexel have sold for less than $200,000. In recent years, the developer has built more than 100 units in six projects on long-vacant lots on the 3900, 4100, 4400 and 4500 blocks of South Drexel Boulevard.

Sutherland/Pearsall is under contract to buy land on Drexel one block north of the development site.

"We will build five single-family houses with 4,500 to 5,000 square feet of space," Sutherland said, adding that those houses will be priced at more than $1 million.

The developer expects to close on the single-family homes site by early summer, he said.

Chicago-based architect Brian Milbury is designing the four-story condo building and the single-family houses, Sutherland said.

"We expect to start construction on both projects by the end of the year," he said.
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Old May 5th, 2006, 02:52 AM   #18
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http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?sec...cal&id=4143670



City breaks ground on housing to replace troubled project By Ben Bradley
May 4, 2006 - A new beginning on the city's South Side -- Thursday -- as ground was broken on mixed-income housing that will be built on site of the Robert Taylor Homes.

At one time it was the world's largest public housing project, christened by the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, and now almost entirely torn down by his son. This is the seventh year of the CHA'S 10-year plan to transform public housing, and no place came to symbolize the problems of public housing like the Robert Taylor Homes.
At one time more than 17,000 people called the sprawling complex home. There were 28 buildings spread across a two-and-a-half mile stretch of State Street. Today, only one building remains and it will be torn down by the end of the year.

"It's time for a change," said Freddie Wright, former CHA resident.

That "change" will include a 2,300-unit, mixed-income neighborhood. No high rises. No economic segregation. In theory: No sign that this is public housing.

"Now our kids get the chance to wake up seeing a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, an engineer. The same kind of community we lived in, our residents now have that opportunity," said Terry Peterson, Chicago Housing Authority CEO.

Some CHA residents have long been skeptical of the massive city-wide transformation effort. But Sherrice Wesley, who has lived in Robert Taylor for 15 years, says she is ready for change.

"You can't be too upset, you should want to move. If you've been here a long time -- you should want a change, right?" said Sherrice Wesley, Robert Taylor Homes resident.

"We have a rare opportunity that we won't have in hundreds of years to take a great street like State Street and put great retail and commercial space so this community can walk to work and generate taxes," said Ald. Dorothy Tillman, 3rd Ward.

At the groundbreaking Thursday, Valerie Jarrett, the former CTA board president and granddaughter of the man for whom the infamous housing project was named.

"It's been a huge embarrassment to our family," said Jarrett, Robert Taylor's granddaughter.

Jarrett says her grandfather was never an advocate of the high rises or the isolation. She believes he would have loved what's happening now.

"Whether his name is on it or not -- the most important thing is his vision is here," Jarrett said.

Citywide, the CHA has already built 15,000 replacement housing units and there are plans for 10,000 more. The CH a continues to maintain that every resident in good-standing is being accommodated in the new mixed-income neighborhoods.

The key to success for many of these communities will be economic development. Alderman Tillman says soon she will be able to announce some big box retailers and a grocery store that will open near the old Robert Taylor site.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 11:51 PM   #19
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I guess this might belong here

http://www.suntimes.com/output/busin...ighrise16.html

Zoning OK sought for South lakefront tower
May 16, 2006
BY DAVID ROEDER AND FRAN SPIELMAN Staff Reporters


High-rises are so common on the North Side lakefront that there are few places left to put them. The South Side lakefront has more land, but fewer developers are willing to take a chance on it.

So a lot of investors will be watching how JFJ Development Co. fares with a plan to build at 6740 S. South Shore Drive. The firm's president, Jon Zitzman, and his architect said the 20-story building would be the South Shore area's first high-rise in at least 30 years.

The planned $60 million condominium building would overlook Jackson Park, the South Shore Cultural Center and the lake, enjoying a view of downtown from an angle many Chicagoans never see.

Zitzman has asked the city for a zoning change that would let him build 132 units, including six townhomes that he figures he can sell for at least $1 million. He said the homes in the high-rise should be priced from $250,000 to $1 million.

Despite closeness to the lake and many attractive homes, South Shore's lower incomes and higher minority population have drawn few builders. Most are intent on chasing Chicago's gentrification dollar on the North Side.

Zitzman said he likes South Shore for its potential. "We're looking for other markets that are untapped. It seems to us that the South Loop and the West Loop are saturated," he said.

A partnership allied with his firm has a contract to buy the property, which holds a single-family home and a building formerly leased to a private school. Both would come down.

JFJ has ascended in the development ranks from small-scale projects in Lincoln Park and Lake View to larger residential buildings in River North. For his first major South Side venture, Zitzman said he's signed on as an investor Dennis Irving, president of the black-owned Highland Community Bank.

In addition, he's hired a prominent black architect, Phillip Johnson, principal of Johnson & Lee Ltd., for the design. Johnson is to collaborate with the firm Hartshorne & Plunkard, which has more experience in high-rise construction.

Johnson said the new building will be the first South Shore high-rise since Quadrangle House, a 28-story building at 6700 S. South Shore Drive that records indicate was finished in 1968.

The new building "will be as transparent as possible so that the residents can take advantage of the great views," Johnson said.

He said several meetings have been held with nearby residents and no opposition has been reported. Zitzman said the plan has support from South Shore's alderman, Leslie Hairston (5th). She could not be reached for comment.

The zoning application triggers hearings that culminate in a vote by the City Council. Assuming approval comes, Zitzman said he hopes to start construction in spring 2007 and be done in fall 2009.

He said several banks are interested in financing the venture. Funding commitments usually aren't made, however, until condo developers hit a threshold of pre-construction sales, and Zitzman hasn't started those yet.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 01:28 AM   #20
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...realestate-hed

Retirement campus in Beverly gets a new look

By Jane Adler

Special to the Tribune
Published June 25, 2006

The $65 million redevelopment of the Washington & Jane Smith Community on Chicago's South Side took another step this month with the groundbreaking for an apartment building. Located in the Beverly Hills-Morgan Park neighborhood along South Western Avenue between 112th and 113th Places, the 80-year-old retirement campus has been renamed Smith Village.

The apartments will replace a vacant building, scheduled to be torn down soon said Michael Flynn, chief executive at Smith Senior Living, the non-profit sponsor of the development.

The first phase of the redevelopment was completed in March with the opening of an 82-unit assisted living building, Flynn said. Previous residents of the building slated for demolition have been moved into that building. A nursing care building that opened in 1992 will remain on the campus.

Smith Village will be operated as a continuing care retirement community--one of only a handful in the city. Most continuing care properties are on big suburban campuses. Like other continuing care projects, Smith Village will have several types of housing--apartments for those who are independent, as well as the existing nursing and assisted-care units.

"We are the only continuing care project in the neighborhood," said Flynn. "This is a great alternative for people who have lived their entire lives in the area."

Carl and Elaine Spencer plan to sell their Beverly home of 50 years and move into the apartment building at Smith Village when it's completed in late 2007. The couple has reserved a two-bedroom, two-bath unit with about 1,265 square feet.

"The bottom line is that here was a chance to stay in the neighborhood and to continue doing what we are doing," said Elaine Spencer. "I have lived in Beverly for 50 years. My kids grew up here. We have a wide circle of friends. Why move to the suburbs when we have the opportunity to stay in our neighborhood?"

Spencer said she likes the fact that Smith Village is about a block from the Beverly Arts Center and that a Metra train station is nearby, plus the city buses.

"We have a good percentage of [older] people who are active in the neighborhood, but who don't want to keep their big homes," said Ginger Rugai, alderman of the 19th Ward, which includes Beverly, Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood. She said the neighborhoods are composed of mostly of single-family homes, and there are few assisted-living or nursing-care facilities nearby.

The redevelopment at Smith Village, Rugai said, is a boost to the neighborhood. "It's an investment in our community."

The new building at Smith Village will have 152 one- and two-bedroom apartments. About 80 percent of the units have been reserved, Flynn said. Each will have a fully equipped kitchen as well as a washer and dryer. A common area will include a formal dining room, cafe, hair salon and convenience store, along with a computer center and library. Gardens, walking paths and underground parking also are planned.

The Smith Village redevelopment comes amid a wave of similar revamps at retirement homes.

In the Chicago area a handful of new projects are under way. Smith Senior Living has a project called Smith Crossing in southwest suburban Orland Park that was recently finished.

Like other continuing care projects, Smith Village has an entry fee and monthly fees. Entry fees start at $132,000 (and are 90 percent refundable). Monthly fees start at $1,830.

A big selling point of continuing-care communities is that they offer access to assistance and at least some health care.

At Smith Village, residents of the independent apartments get 100 free days (accrued over time) in the assisted-living or skilled nursing care units. After that, residents receive a 15 percent discount.

Flynn said the newly configured campus will have room for about 350 residents, up from 275 residents.

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