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Old July 28th, 2006, 02:33 AM   #121
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lighten up every body, and repeat after me:

"it's just an internet message board......

it's just an internet message board......"
"I wish they'd hurry up and just destroy humanity already........... it's the waiting that I can't stand" - Philip J. Fry
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Old July 30th, 2006, 11:53 PM   #122
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Medical district gets 200 new condos

not sure if this is a new development or not....


Real estate
Medical district gets 200 new condos

July 30, 2006

MetroPlace's 200 condominiums and single-family houses will push the boundaries of the West Side's thriving new housing market.

The new MCL Companies development at West Roosevelt and Campbell is a "natural progression" for housing being constructed to serve the growing area around the University of Illinois and the Illinois Medical District, said company President Daniel E. McLean.

"The West Side is ready to happen," McLean said. "Chicago institutions such as ... the U. of I. and our great hospitals have never left for the suburbs."

The success of new housing at University Village at the U. of I., and Roosevelt Square at 1200 W. Roosevelt, are an indication of the area's growing popularity, he said.

MetroPlace will be a mix of single-family homes and condominiums in duplex and six-flat buildings. About 200 units are planned, but the number could go as high as 250 as the mix of product is adjusted to meet demand.

"The first couple people in here said they wanted single-families," McLean said. "I was surprised at the strong market for them."

The three-level plans have 4 bedrooms, 3-1/2 baths, full basements, detached 2-car garages and about 3,100 square feet of space. Prices start at $614,900 to $639,900.

Standards include red oak floors, carpeting, gas fireplaces with ceramic tile hearth and surrounds, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, marble and cultured marble vanity tops, air conditioning and two-zone heating. The buildings have brick fronts, vinyl siding and private backyards. Options include a fifth bedroom, skylights, cathedral ceilings and decks.

The condominiums are in six-flat buildings or duplexes. They have 2 or 3 bedrooms, 2 or 2-1/2 baths, fireplaces and decks or patios. They include most of the same finishes and appliances as the single-family designs. All units have a parking space. Sizes range from 1,150 to 1,300 square feet and prices start at $265,900 to $399,900.

The first phase of condominium buildings will face onto Roosevelt Road and the single-families onto West Grenshaw Street, in the interior of the development. The first two blocks of housing will be divided by a regulation-size alley.

"The restaurants and the neighborhood are already there," McLean said.

Little Italy shops and restaurants are nearby, as are Jewel and Dominick's stores and numerous franchise outlets. Chinatown, Greektown and Maxwell Street Market are within blocks.

The western edge of the property is bounded by a small park and plantings to buffer it from a railroad viaduct, McLean said. The city has designated the area to the west of the tracks for manufacturing development, he said.

The sales center is at 2500 W. Roosevelt. Call (312) 321-1400 or visit www.metroplacechicago.com.

--Larry Finley
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Old July 31st, 2006, 12:43 AM   #123
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Ugh. With a name like "Metroplace" I was expecting something really cool. 7-10 story midrises with retail or something. Same old crap.
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Old August 18th, 2006, 07:09 AM   #124
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8/16/2006 10:00:00 PM Email this article • Print this article
The hopefully commercial future of Madison Street
For now, retail strip is sparse, but residents have big ideas

By BILL MAYEROFF, Contributing Writer

At a community meeting last Thursday, East Garfield Park and West Haven residents discussed bringing new businesses to Madison Street between Central Park and Western avenues.

East Garfield Park resident Nancy Vachon described that stretch of Madison as "sparse," while Lue Whitehen, of the 2600 block of Madison Street, said it has "no store we can walk to." Other residents echoed those sentiments.

Whitehen said she's not particular about what type of store comes into the area. She lives a short distance from Madison and Western, where construction of a new Aldi is slated to begin next spring. While some residents of the area have expressed concern that Aldi does not carry high-quality products or fresh meats, Whitehen, who does her grocery shopping at other Aldi stores in the area, believes it will help an area where it's hard to get good food.

"I don't see anything wrong with Aldi," Whitehen said after the meeting. Vachon, who said Aldi is her primary grocery store, would prefer to see a different store such as Jewel or Dominick's at Madison and Western, but said if Aldi is what will come to the area, it will help.

"You have no variety with an Aldi," Vachon said. "If you don't have a car, that's where you go."

Earnest Gates, co-founder of the Near West Community Development Corp., said Madison Street should be both stylish and functional.

"It should be pedestrian-friendly," said Gates at the meeting. "You want to set architectural standards that the community can agree on."

Residents suggested that Madison Street needs all different types of businesses, from bookstores to copy centers like Kinko's. Residents also seemed to agree that any new businesses should provide jobs to neighborhood residents.

"You want stores that offer the maximum employment opportunity," said Gates.

One major concern was that residents have to leave the neighborhood to do most of their shopping, whether for food or anything else.

"We don't even have a nice shop where women can go and buy a decent pair of pants or a dress or anything like that," Whitehen said. "Nothing is here." But she reiterated that a lack of decent food is the major problem in the area.

"We need some grocery stores we can go to without catching a bus," Whitehen said. "I go all the way to Taylor Street for the bakery." Vachon agreed, saying that it gets expensive to travel out of the neighborhood.

"It's four bucks for me to do anything," she said.

By the end of the meeting, everyone had a different idea of what they wanted Madison to look like.

"We want Madison to look like Harlem [New York in] 1940," said Gates. Other attendees had different ideas, suggesting the neighborhood needs everything from coffee shops to a bowling alley. A number of people, including Vachon, suggested the area needs more family-friendly places. Vachon is concerned that the only food nearby is fast food.

"There needs to be more kid-oriented, family-oriented, eat-in restaurants," Vachon said after the meeting. "To me, [the area] would look like the Halsted-Belmont area north of Diversey and south of Irving Park."

Abe Lentner, of the University of Illinois at Chicago's City Design Center, said he isn't sure what Madison Street will ultimately look like, but that he did see a theme in the ideas presented at the meeting.

"I hear there is a need to diversify the types of businesses," said Lentner. The City Design Center, he said, will take the ideas from last week and try to form them into a single plan for Madison Street, which will be presented at a meeting in November.
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Old August 18th, 2006, 10:42 AM   #125
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There is a "forgotten project" that maybe you guys can help me with.

It was a high rise condo that was to be built west of downtown due north of the Eisenhower and would have broken the mold of the 8-10 story warehouse and new loft construction. I want to say it was somewhere around Racine.

Does anyone know what became of this project? Is it dead? I haven't read or seen a thing about it in ages.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 05:20 AM   #126
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Not to get picky, but would the mods be interested in changing the name of this thread to "West side development news" to eliminate confusion, since there is already a "suburban development" thread in existence?
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Old October 30th, 2006, 06:55 AM   #127
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^ I still think it would make sense to take 'suburban' off the title of this thread, in case the mods missed my last post.

83 condos slated for former industrial site

By Jeanette Almada
Special to the Tribune
Published October 29, 2006

A local developer is moving ahead with plans to convert a terra cotta, Washington Boulevard warehouse into 83 condos, expanding residential development on the West Side.

The Chicago Plan Commission this month approved Chicago-based Mansion View Development Corp.'s project.

Chicago developers Alice Prus and Helen Nelson head Mansion View Development. Both declined to comment. City Council approval is needed.

Mansion View owns the 19,380-square-foot site at 2620 W. Washington Blvd., according to its application to the city.

The site stretches along North Talman Avenue from West Washington Boulevard to West Maypole Avenue among vacant parcels and a few manufacturing buildings that have drawn attention from developers. Another residential building is planned two blocks away, a Department of Planning and Development project manager told commissioners.

The developer will convert the vacant, six-story warehouse into condos and will add four stories to the building.

Six duplex penthouses set for the ninth and 10th floors will be sold for $550,000 to $600,000.

Thirty-three efficiency units will be sold for $140,000 to $190,000; 41 two-bedroom units will be sold for $240,000 to $300,000 and three three-bedroom units will be sold for $325,000 to $375,000, the developer's attorney, Jim Banks, told plan commissioners.
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Old November 4th, 2006, 03:35 AM   #128
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Proposed by Pickus Devt at 1260 W Madison. 13 stories with ground level commercial.

WLCO NIMBY's are opposed:

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Old November 5th, 2006, 08:28 AM   #129
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aawww......that's the cute-looking towers. WLICO opposed them? They are such a bunch of naturally born LOSERS.
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Old December 21st, 2006, 02:50 AM   #130
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I'm not sure this is the right thread for this, but....
Commercial Real Estate News

Caffé RoM On Board at MetraMarket

By Kevin Knapp

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - CHICAGO – The transit-oriented retail center under development by U.S. Equities Realty in the West Loop has signed the first restaurant: Caffé RoM, a new concept by Café Baci owner Joe DiCarlo and partner James Louras. RoM, pronounced the same as Italy’s capital city, will combine a European coffee bar, serving coffees, pastries, paninis and gelato, with a contemporary wine bar open late afternoon and into the evening. MetraMarket is located adjacent to Ogilvie Transportation Center, and is intended to transform two underutilized city blocks — between Washington, Lake, Canal and Clinton streets — into a lively hub of street-level shops and restaurants linking the Loop with the rapidly growing Near West neighborhood. Slated for late 2007 opening, Caffé RoM will occupy 2,900 square feet on Canal between Randolph and Washington. Patrons will be able to enter directly from Canal as well as from inside the Metra concourse. Plans for MetraMarket include additional restaurants, an assortment of retailers and an open public space for dining and socializing, as well as ground-level parking for up to 100 vehicles. Phase I of the development is 50 percent pre-leased according to Camille Julmy, vice chairman of U.S. Equities, the developer and exclusive leasing agent for MetraMarket.
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 06:06 PM   #131
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Driven by design
Plans for Lemont redevelopment call for new buildings to fit in with the old

By Annemarie Mannion
Tribune staff reporter
Published December 23, 2006

Just as legendary urban planner Daniel Burnham once advised, the village of Lemont is making no little plans in the effort to redevelop its downtown.

Its goal: the construction of new buildings designed to look as if they have been part of the community and neighborhood for decades.

Redeveloping the downtown may not be as treacherous a project as was digging the Illinois & Michigan Canal in the 19th Century; but the 133-year-old village is embarking on an endeavor that is fairly daunting, particularly in the midst of a slowing real estate market.

Lemont is seeking to revitalize its downtown with new condos, townhouses and public attractions that include a landscaped, pedestrian walkway along its portion of the historic canal.

"This is the first time Lemont has done anything of this magnitude. The first phase involves $80 million of public and private investment," said Mayor John Piazza, who is familiar with the ups and downs of the real estate market. He also works as a mortgage broker.

"The market is soft, very soft. The good thing is that the condos are moderately priced. At the entry level, they're $180,000, and will go up to $500,000," he said.

Despite jitters inspired by the slack real estate market, the village is moving forward with the first project, which features construction of 82 loft-style condos in the initial phase. Ground was broken recently on the condos that will be constructed over 25,000 square feet of ground-level retail space.

The Front Street Lofts will have one-, two-, or three-bedroom units and a 260-car parking structure that will be available for use by shoppers and others who are in the downtown area. First move-ins are anticipated next fall.

Village officials in the suburban community of about 15,000 residents are embracing the notion of having more residential density in the downtown district. They want more people to live, shop, dine and spend money at businesses in the village's core.

The goal is "a downtown that has more of an urban setting, but with a neighborhood feel," Piazza said.

"It's really hit or miss whether there's foot traffic in our downtown right now," he said. "There have been numerous small businesses that have closed their doors."

Chicago-based Marquette Cos. is building the Front Street Lofts.

"Our role is to catalyze economic development," said Bruno Bottarelli, the firm's managing partner.

He noted that that the project is a departure for Lemont not only in its scope, but in how the village is seeking to control and encourage development.

Instead of traditional zoning methods, which designate specific uses, the village has adopted a form-based code which dictates the look, mass and scale of structures. Area buildings must fit within the designated scale and meet standards for materials. Additionally, they must fit in with the vision for the area.

"It lays out the specific details we want to see, everything from the size of the windows to the materials," said Piazza.

Controlling such seemingly minor details might seem like a headache, but Piazza said it should make the process less stressful and less costly for developers, who won't need to go through a drawn-out public hearing process.

"It makes it easier for developers because they know exactly what we want," Piazza said.

The village wants buildings that are three to five stories high which are constructed of brick or stone to be in keeping with the materials used in other vintage limestone structures that village leaders believegive Lemont its distinctive character.

Many of the community's older buildings were constructed of yellow limestone that was quarried near the village during the 1800s. (Another famous structure that was built with the material is the Chicago Water Tower, the only structure to survive the Great Chicago Fire).

Bottarelli said the form-based code is key to enabling Lemont to capitalize on its historical assets.

"There's a vernacular of materials that already exists here. We want to maintain the historic feeling," he said.

Piazza said the finished project "will look like some of these buildings could have been here 60 or 70 years ago. It won't look like a new project that was just plopped into the downtown."

Susan Donahue, a member of the Lemont Area Historical Society, said the organization participated in a public hearing process prior to adoption of the form-based code.

Those involved in the hearings "reassured us that they'd try to use building materials that blend with what's already there," she said. "We were concerned that the integrity of the downtown be maintained."

Donahue said it appears the organization's concerns have been taken seriously. The developer even borrowed archival photos from the society to be used in helping create a look that complements the area's existing landmark structures.

There are eight sites within the district that are targeted for redevelopment. The form-based code requires that parking be located behind buildings and that storefronts meet sidewalks to allow shoppers easy access. It also requires that all buildings have first-floor retail outlets and either residential units or office space above.

Another goal of the project is to make the Illinois & Michigan Canal a destination.

The canal's heyday was in the 1830s when it was used to ship goods between Chicago and the Mississippi River. The rise of railroads led to the canal's demise as a shipping conduit, but village officials see it's potential as a destination for shoppers and pedestrians.

A long-term goal of the redevelopment effort includes building a pedestrian walkway along the canal.

"It would be a linear park with stores across the street," on Front Street, said Bottarelli.

Bottarelli said the canal is an underappreciated gem that needs to be polished.

"Lemont is blessed because it has the canal. We're using the canal as a major amenity," he said.

Creating a lively retail mix is another key to his vision.

"You could look at the downtown as a mall without walls," said Bottarelli.

There are plenty of potential shoppers living within driving distance of the downtown.

Bottarelli estimates there are 218,000 households within a 10-mile radius of the village, with plenty of people who could be lured to shop in Lemont.

Currently, the area isn't attracting as many visitors as the town would like.

"Lemont is losing consumer spending and tax revenue to retail centers in Oak Brook, Naperville and Orland Park," Bottarelli said. "This project will help Lemont capture a larger share of the annual retail spending among area residents that is being siphoned off by other communities."

The Lemont Downtown Redevelopment District will consist of three pedestrian-friendly sections, each with a distinct identity: the Historic District, Transit Depot District and Fry's Landing District, where the Front Streets Lofts will be located.

Other projects envisioned include an arts-based community/cultural center, the Canal Walk, featuring a replica of an 1800s-era barge that will serve as a museum/restaurant venue, as well as landscaped walking and bicycle paths.

Bottarelli says the projects could be completed within 10 to 15 years.

Taking note of a less lively real estate market, Ron Stapleton, a Realtor with Century 21 Olsick & Co. and a member of the Lemont Chamber of Commerce, said the downtown's future is yet to be determined.

"We struggled for several years to get the financing for the downtown district in place. As to the outcome, we don't know. This is a different market than it was," he said.

Piazza predicted home buyers will be lured by the $180,000 starting prices for the Front Street Lofts.

"I think this product will capture a different segment of the market," he said.

That segment, presumably, will find the mix of old and new in Lemont appealing.

"Many people like the old homes with the wood plank floors, but they want the modern conveniences--the big closets and lots of electrical outlets," he said.

Lemont, he said, is poised to take advantage of its historic assets while creating new ones.

"Not every community has what Lemont has. We have amenities, such as the canal, that we need to take advantage of," he said.

As for the form-based code, Bottarelli said it will ensure that new housing and other structures will display a high quality.

"These aren't easy standards to meet," Bottarelli said. "You have to do a good job. But if you're not a good developer, don't bother with Lemont."

- - -

A new agenda for Lemont


Population: 14,300 (2003 estimate)

Founded: 1873 on the banks of the Des Plaines River and the Illinois & Michigan Canal. It is in both Cook and DuPage Counties.

Did you know? Limestone from Lemont's quarries was used in the construction of the Library of Congress and Chicago's Water Tower.


- Revitalization will focus on the Historic District, including vintage buildings; the Transit Depot District, near the village train station; and Fry's Landing district, near waterways.

- Plans call for new condos, townhouses and public attractions, including a landscaped, pedestrian walkway along the village portion of the historic canal.

- The first project, the Front Street Lofts, will feature 82 loft-style condos in the initial phase. Move-ins are anticipated for next fall. The first floor also will provide 25,000 square feet of ground-level retail space.

Sources: News reports, village government
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Old December 24th, 2006, 05:06 AM   #132
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Wow - looks like Lemont is adopting the New Urbanist strategy lock, stock, and barrel. It's about time somebody around here did.

I hope as part of this revitalization that they segregate parking into specific lots/garages, allowing for on-street/parallel parking as necessary.
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Old December 25th, 2006, 06:03 AM   #133
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Portfolio: North Lawndale MLK district

North Lawndale is promoting a memorial district dedicated to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as part of the New Communities Program Community Investment Portfolio.

Plan includes park, housing and Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial.

Photo: Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP

Forty years ago, to call attention to segregated slum conditions in northern cities, Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, lived in a walk-up apartment building at the corner of Hamlin Avenue and 16th Street. That building, like so many in North Lawndale, was later torn down.

The King Memorial District will cover four acres along 16th between Hamlin and Springfield. It will consist of a memorial to Dr. King; an affordable family housing development that includes both rental and home ownership opportunities; a park near Penn Elementary School; a community center for the Marcy Newberry and Chicago Youth Centers, now located nearby; and a new public library.

BENEFITS The King District will help revive the once-thriving commercial area on 16th Street, which was damaged by the riots following Dr. King's assassination. The project will add momentum to recent developments including renovation of the former Howland Elementary School, a new fire station and a new Access Living site.

SPONSORING ORGANIZATION Lawndale Christian Development Corporation was established in 1987 by Lawndale Community Church to bring holistic revitalization to the lives and environments of Lawndale residents through economic empowerment, housing improvements, educational enrichments and community advocacy.

16th Street and Hamlin Avenue

$21 million

$41 million
$20 million for mixed-use rental housing
$15 million for community center
$6 million for campus park and King Memorial

2007 Begin affordable family housing project
2008 Begin campus park and King Memorial
2009 Begin community center and public library

Chicago Youth Centers, Marcy-Newberry Association, Safeway Construction Company, The Westside Federation
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Old December 26th, 2006, 09:56 AM   #134
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I love all these small corporations that I'm hearing about, which are teaming up to reform their own neighborhoods. It's close to the way most of Chicago was originally formed, and it's a lot better of an approach than the regional or national developers stepping in.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 07:34 AM   #135
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Something I randomly ran into:

36 N Paulina

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Old February 18th, 2007, 03:27 PM   #136
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R&D 659


237 condos in project set for the West Loop

By Jeanette Almada
Special to the Tribune
Published February 18, 2007

A 17-story, mixed-use project with 237 condominiums is planned for the West Loop.

DAGS Desplaines LLC, which consists entirely of Chicago-based Mesirow Financial Real Estate Inc., will build the project on a development site at 659 W. Randolph, on the southwest corner of Randolph and Desplaines Streets.

"We bought the site from Catholic Charities in April last year and finished demolishing the building on the site in August," Gavin Stein, a vice president at Mesirow, said last week.

The Chicago Plan Commission, in December 2006, approved the project as a business and residential planned development, and the City Council approved it this month.

The developer will build the 237 residential units in 21 floor plans on the 4th through 17th floors in the L-shaped building; 124 of the units will be 1-bedroom condos; 41 will be 1-bedroom plus den units; sixty-five will be 2-bedroom units; and 7 will be 3-bedroom units.

The condos will have a range of 655 to 2,137 square feet, and 213 of the units are being marketed for prices between $210,000 to $879,000. "We are already selling them from a sales center at Randolph and Desplaines," Stein said.

Twenty-four 1-bedroom units with 655 square feet of space are being sold for $147,500, under the Chicago Partners for Affordable Neighborhoods program, administered by the Chicago Department of Housing.

"The units will be sold to buyers that are pre-qualified by the housing department, and the buyers will have deeds with restrictions in them . . . saying that they will be held in a [community] land trust for 99 years," Stein said.

"Also, because of the affordable component in the project, we have a special arrangement with National City Mortgage, who is offering all qualified buyers a 1.5 percent discount off the 30-year fixed mortgage rate," Stein said.

The project will have 12,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 185 parking spaces on the ground and second and third levels, according to Stein.

Chicago-based Brininstool + Lynch Ltd designed the project.

Construction will begin in April, and the developer hopes to deliver the first units in August 2008, Stein said.
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Old February 25th, 2007, 06:16 PM   #137
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Lake Street project tilts toward transit

By Jeanette Almada
Special to the Tribune
Published February 25, 2007

A transit-oriented, mixed-use, mixed-income project with 30 condominiums is planned for a long-vacant parcel in the 3100 block of West Lake Street in East Garfield Park.

After issuing a request for development proposals in 2005, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development has selected Kedzie-GreenLife, a joint venture of Chicago-based non-profit developer Bethel New Life Inc. and local developer Terra Firma Co.

Bethel New Life has built affordable, often-green housing and community-oriented projects on the West Side for more than a decade. Terra Firma is a mixed-use developer whose work includes the Fountain View in Ravenswood and Station Square at Prairie Crossing in Grayslake.

Two other developers responded, a Planning Department manager told the Community Development Commission this month.

One proposed a 38-rental-unit and the other 40 condos, both in a mixed-use project. Neither included a green roof, a priority for the Planning Department, though other criteria contributed to the city selecting Kedzie-GreenLife.

The developer will come before the commission later to get approval for its plans.

The city wants to see a focus on the site's proximity to the CTA's Green Line Kedzie Avenue station. Another goal is day-care or service-oriented uses with apartments, condos or artists' live-and-work units above ground-level retailing. Kedzie GreenLife's project will have 7,800 square feet of such retail and community support space.

Kedzie-GreenLife will build on a half-acre of city-owned land at 3148-3156 W. Lake St. The developer has agreed to pay $203,500, or $9.99 per square foot, according to Ben Ranney, a principal of Terra Firma.

Thirty condos to be built in the project will likely be 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units, Ranney said.

Sixteen will be sold as affordable housing to families earning up to 80 percent of the Chicago-area median income.

"We will likely ask for TIF [tax increment financing] assistance, but the details remain to be finalized," Ranney said.

Green elements include a 10,000-square-foot green roof, wind turbines, passive heating and cooling systems, solar panels and sunshades.

Chicago-based Worn Jerabek Architects is designing the project. "Our architect and Bethel New Life are leaders in terms of environmentally friendly housing," Ranney said.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 07:43 AM   #138
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Old meets new at Groomes Building in West Haven

The Groomes Building in West Haven has become "where the old meets new," thanks to a rehab project that has transformed it into a residential structure featuring 26 condominiums.

Located at 2120-24 W. Washington Blvd., the upgraded building was designed to be both luxurious and affordable. Workers restored its original limestone façade and ornamental details to their original splendor while giving the interiors a new construction look and feel.

Two-bedroom, two-bath units start at $199,000, and one-bedroom, one-bath condos start at $169,000. Outdoor secured parking spaces cost $15,000 each.

The building offers an elevator and professionally landscaped exterior, and each unit on the second floor and above has a balcony. All units come with large energy efficient windows and doors, individually controlled heating and air conditioning systems, and washer and dryer hookups.

Kitchens feature a GE refrigerator, dishwasher, self-cleaning gas range, and microwave. A double-bowl stainless steel sink, a garbage disposal, chrome faucets, granite countertops, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors also are standard, and buyers can choose among various 42-inch cabinet styles.

Bathrooms have ceramic floor and wall tile, a large soaking tub, white matte solid surface vanity tops, a vanity, and chrome fixtures.

Bedrooms feature wall-to-wall carpeting, ceiling fans, and vinyl clad shelving in closets.

Hardwood floors can be found in living areas, hallways, and the foyer. Units also feature cable television/high-speed internet outlets and pre-wired telephone jacks.

The Groomes Building is marketed exclusively by D'Aprile Realty, 1732 W. Hubbard St., Suite 1C, Chicago, IL 60622. For information, contact Jon Neff, Jeff Azuse, or Claudia Weems at (312) 492-7900 or log on to www.daprilerealty.com

Renaissance 2010 plan brings new charter high school to West Town

By Ivette Sandoval
The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) recently approved a plan to open 17 new schools in the 2007-08 school year, including two in the Noble Network of Charter Schools—Superior Avenue College Prep in West Town and Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy in West Humboldt Park. This wave of school openings is part of CPS’s Renaissance 2010 plan, which started in 2000 and has three years left to reach its goal of creating 100 new city schools.

The Noble Network already operates three other charter schools that have posted good results. In the 2005-06 school year, the Noble Street College Prep campus was one of seven Chicago high schools to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress status, according to No Child Left Behind guidelines. The school maintained a 95% attendance rate, and 91% of seniors attended college after graduating.

Superior Avenue College Prep will be located at 1460 W. Superior St. in a building that formerly housed Holy Innocents School and has been vacant since the Catholic school closed. This fall, the new school will admit 145 freshmen; it will add one grade level each year until this year’s freshmen reach 12th grade.

Noble began operating schools in 1999. Said Michael Milkie, superintendent for Noble Network of Charter Schools, “These new campuses are close to our other campuses, and we have about 1,300 families on a waiting list, so the demand is great.”

“Families feel that this is a good option for their kids and they’re always looking for better options,” Milkie went on. “Generally speaking, they’re looking for safety and quality, not overpopulation.”

Noble follows a model that includes rigorous standards and discipline, student culture and respect, strong back office support, and faculty and administrative excellence and dedication.

“From administrators down to teaching staff to office personnel, I am confident that the people assembled here all pull their weight and do it because they believe in a better education for kids in the city,” said Ross Hunefield, an 11th grade math teacher at one of the Noble schools.

Hunefield explained the culture of respect and learning is reinforced consistently. He feels students are better prepared for college when they graduate from a Noble Charter High School. “I think their academics are more rigorous than in other options, and I think they have learned better social and work skills that enable them to function independently at the next level,” he said.

Classes average 18 students, which is smaller than at other schools and allows more individualized attention. In the two new high schools, college prep classes will prepare students for college; they also will focus on health and fitness, and all students must pass an annual fitness test to be promoted.

Noble’s curriculum is similar to the traditional CPS curriculum, except that Noble Charter Schools have a longer school year.

Both Superior Avenue College Prep and Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy will open Monday, Aug. 20, 2007. On Feb. 12, Noble held a lottery to admit students because applications to attend the school exceeded open slots. The first 150 will be offered enrollment, with the rest put on a waiting list for Noble Street College Prep. For additional information visit

Residential boom underway in West Haven community
By Amy Rothblatt

The area surrounding and west of the United Center has exploded with residential development. In West Haven, West Haven Park, East Garfield Park, Tri-Taylor, and West Village, new townhouses, condos, duplex condos, and single family houses abound.

The boom is remarkable because, as recently as five years ago, much of the area was vacant land. One factor contributing to the change is the Home Start Program, begun several years ago by Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City's Department of Housing to entice developers to buy vacant, City-owned land to create mixed developments of affordable and market value housing. Such joint ventures allow developers to purchase land at market value but not actually pay the City for it until their new housing is built, sold, and closed.

Under the program, 20% of units must be designated affordable to help meet the City’s goals of using land optimally, creating mixed-income environments that promote diversity, and transforming underdeveloped areas into established neighborhoods with a sense of community. The program also specifies a mix of housing styles and pricing to promote diversity of age, race, gender, and ethnicity.

West Village Homes by New West Realty is a Home Start development consisting of 84 affordable and market-rate units, including simplex and duplex (or one- and two-level) condos and townhouse. Located in part along the 2100 block of west Madison Street, where the sales center can be found as well, the project also is "clustered from the 2300 block of Madison to the 2500 block of Flournoy," said New West's Ted Mazola. "We've only got about ten of them left, and at least 50 are occupied," stated Mazola. "In the next few months they will all be occupied."

The second phase of this development, Heritage Homes of West Village, will span four blocks along Kedzie Avenue from Flournoy to Taylor Streets. "We're just calling the area West Village," Mazola said, referring to the area west of West Haven and the Tri-Taylor neighborhoods.

Steve Barton, a member of the sales team, described the affordable housing program’s importance to the area. "It is designed to get people into a home who might not otherwise have the opportunity because of income and to also actually keep people in the community," he said.

Affordable housing

The City of Chicago Affordable Housing Program is based on income and the number of people in a household. Those interested must submit an application, which the City reviews, after which “the applicants are notified if they are eligible," Barton said. "They say it takes six to eight weeks, but it usually takes about two to three weeks."

Mazola said he always believed in "giving back to the communities, especially those that may be overlooked and underserved. The West Village Homes will provide important infill housing in communities that have started to develop but have been held back somewhat because of an abundance of vacant City-owned land."

The project’s architectural design harmonizes with the area’s turn-of-the-century look, Mazola noted, to help alleviate some longtime residents’ concerns that the neighborhood’s feel will change and its history could be lost with current residential development.

According to Diane Jones, former president of the Madison-Western Chamber of Commerce, "The older residents who have been living in the area for years are opposed to the new condos coming into the area because they feel that they are being pushed out by the new residential development, that they [developers] are not trying to blend them in, and that [newer residents] don't want to associate with the people who have been there for so long and know the community. Some of the new residents coming in are buying these new condos as an investment; they were told their property values would go up in the next five years, and they want to see that happen."

Monica Brown, a homemaker and West Haven resident for the last two years who became frustrated by the area’s lack of good elementary schools, became active in the community and attended regular local get-togethers, such as the Roadmap and Near West Side Community Development Corp. (NWSCDC) meetings.

The Roadmap program consists of a planning and consulting team headed by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Design Center, whose members work actively with the community and schedule monthly meetings to get residents’ feedback about the residential and commercial development they would like to see in West Haven. UIC also works with the East Garfield Park Chamber of Commerce and the Madison-Western Chamber of Commerce.

The NWSCDC holds meetings to discuss planning for schools, retail and residential development, and beautification.

Brown and many other residents regularly attend both groups’ meetings because they believe "the two organizations kind of want different things to happen," she said.

Crowding and parking

"Our biggest concern on the residential side is that our neighborhood is becoming very crowded and that developers are trying to put too many condos on a lot and not give them ample parking," Brown continued. "Parking will become a big issue."

She also reported senior residents "are concerned that the integrity of the neighborhood is being compromised. They want us to be able to combine the old with the new, to maintain a historical look. They don't want to wake up one day and walk out of their houses and have everything brand-spanking new. " She claimed seniors feel "it doesn't appear that the newer generation is willing to do that, particularly the developers, [but] you can't tear everything down."

Jewel Ware, who was elected president of the Homeowners of Westtown Association three months ago, is an 11-year West Haven resident and said, "I am pleased with the development, although I'm not sure

it was planned as well as it could have been.

"Development is always good, especially in this area," she continued. "There is still a good chance that there will be success with the whole mixed-income environment or community, from the homeowners' perspective, which is where I'm speaking from."

Ware believes "the homeowners in general are pleased with having development take place," although "just in terms of looks, the appearance of the condos could blend more with the existing architecture. We know that some developers are trying to keep to the architecture of the area, and some aren't. We appreciate those developers who are being authentic and staying true to the look of the area, and I think it's important that they get some positive reinforcement."

Modern design

The townhouse development by the 2200 W. Madison Group has taken a different approach in the area west of the United Center by implementing a more modern design.

One of the project’s developers, Bill Sipowicz, said the City's Department of Housing "said that they would like to make the city more green and environmentally sound, instead of just having a concrete jungle effect." He added the City wants the area to be "more family-oriented, [and] they wanted us to build something inviting, less dense, that would have appeal for families to stay in the city. We wanted to work within the City's plan."

The development of 18 townhouses, of varying sizes and layouts, extends across 31,000 square feet of land where "normally you would find 45 to72 condo units stacked on top of each other like poker chips," Sipowicz said. "That's what most developers would do: go for the best and highest use. We've given our people the opportunity to live in a less dense environment.” The project also provides personal space outdoors, as the townhouses and third-floor condos have private roof gardens.

The gardens feature "a very resilient plant growth, similar to grass, but it doesn't grow, so it's like a putting green," he added, noting that in landscaping terminology this is known as "zero floor. It changes color with the seasons and it gets thicker, but not higher. You don't have to haul a lawnmower up to the top level of your home."

Sipowicz noted the other units have either a private patio or balcony, and a common area includes "bike racks, picnic tables, grass, and places to sit."

Karen Williams, a former president of the Homeowners of Westtown Association who remains an active supporter and member, offered her view, saying, “I think that people are very positive about the housing and that the neighborhood has always been eclectic in terms of architectural styles. There is no one style to mimic." The neighborhood’s architecture "varies from block to block, everywhere. There are row houses on Warren Boulevard, tall buildings on Monroe, and on the 2200 block of Adams all of the greystones are so tall, and the new single family homes on Adams are much shorter, not in keeping with the same height. If you think about how the city is, about the older communities and how they were formed, you have smaller units mixed in with townhomes mixed in with single family homes.

"When Mazola came in and built one-, two-, and three-flat condos at West Village Homes, people were very excited about it,” Williams continued. “I know one family who had sold their vintage condo and moved to West Village Homes. I am very pleased with Ted Mazola and his development coming to the neighborhood. Their properties are appreciating, and it will help the neighborhood grow, sustain itself, and become a nice community.”

East Garfield-West Haven overlap

Mike Clark of Clark Construction has been developing in this overlapping area of East Garfield Park and West Haven for over a decade. Located presently at 1937 W. Fulton St., he was one of the first developers who pioneered into that area, and is involved in extensive development in the neighborhood along Washington and Warren Boulevards, as well as on Madison St., as far west as Kedzie Ave..

Bene Dituri, real estate broker and owner of Premier Real Estate Ventures, who is exclusively handling Clark's developments, explains that "the areas of West Haven and East Garfield Park are intrinsically tied together, and there is a lot of overlap between the two."

Dituri noted that developing larger unit buildings, as well as townhouses, single family homes, and conversions of existing architecture is something that Clark is actively involved in.

Clark is another developer participating in the city's affordable housing program, and is currently completing a six townhouse development at 2946-56 W. Warren Blvd.

"We sold four out of the six in the preconstruction phase," Tiduri explained. Each dwelling will be approximately 3,000 sq. ft., constructed of brick and limestone, offering full-finished basements, two-car garages, roof decks, and three bedrooms with 3.5 baths.

Another project along Warren Blvd. that Clark broke ground on last month will be a mix of affordable and market rate housing, and will consist of 30 structures: single family homes, and two-unit buildings. The land was purchased from the City, with the agreement that approximately 15 of these structures be designated to affordable housing. Its location will be between 2700 and 3200 west on Warren Blvd.

This development will be called "New Homes of East Garfield Park," and the first phase has begun.

"We have had very eclectic buyers," Tiduri explained, "and a very eclectic group has bought into our 7-unit condo new construction building at 3101 W. Washington St.. The refreshing thing is that we're seeing diversity."

'A sense of community'

Williams sees the Homeowners Association's primary role as helping people regain a sense of community. The area "has always been diverse, [with] some middle class, professionals, and working class people coexisting for years and years together,” she said. “We want to…welcome the new owners into the community and still have a sense of place, a sense of belonging and sharing, that neighborly feeling that you're not a stranger.”

She believes the association has succeeded in creating harmony in the area. “Whatever ethnicity comes to the neighborhood, soon they're interacting with each other. Old people like seeing children going to the park in their strollers, and we are hopeful that people will stay in the community, upgrade to a home from their smaller condos, once they have children. Many people that I talk to, and most of the property owners who are longtime owners within the neighborhood, are very pleased. There aren't a lot of property owners being displaced in the area; if they're moving out, it's because they want to.”

For Williams, new development gives the community housing options that never existed before. “There’s such a variety of housing stock now: new and old, condos, townhomes, single families, and rentals of various sizes,” she explained. ”That's created choice and that's what I like. It's all positive."
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 07:49 PM   #139
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Architectural flair sought
Discussions on key Oak Park property's development focus on design qualities

By Victoria Pierce
Special to the Tribune
Published March 22, 2007
Oak Park may soon lose its beloved Original Pancake House restaurant, but expectations are high that in its place will rise a structure worthy of a town that prides itself on its architecture.

The downtown master plan calls the corner of Lake Street and Forest Avenue a potential "catalyst project" for redevelopment with retail, residences and parking.

"Not just any building will do," said Tim Wittman, an architectural historian who teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. "To go for the lowest common denominator would be a terrible loss for this site."

Developer Michael Glazier of Sertus Capital Partners has bought the site and hopes to redevelop the restaurant and grocery building and the village-owned parking garage to the north and another parking lot to the east.

More than 100 residents met at the nearby 19th Century Women's Club recently to discuss the site and what type of architecture should replace the non-descript building and parking garage.

Wittman showed a variety of slides on the work of some of the world's most well-known architects, including Richard Meier, who designed the J. Paul Getty Museum in California; Ricardo Bofill, who did the National Theater in Barcelona; and James Sterling's Performing Arts Center at Cornell University in New York.

Wittman encouraged the audience to give feedback on their preferences in architectural styles and materials. Helmut Jahn's Illinois Center in Chicago earned thumbs down, while Santiago Calatrava's Milwaukee Museum of Art received considerable support.

The building with the highest rating? Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple, only a block away from the Original Pancake House.

"The name of Oak Park is synonymous with architectural excellence," said Wittman, who takes his students to Oak Park to visit Wright's home and studio and see firsthand his numerous Prairie Style homes.

With such a legacy, the question becomes whether a new building on Lake Street should blend in with the other significant architecture in the area or make a bold new statement.

That direction has yet to be determined. But Glazier said he is working with the well-known architectural firm of A. Epstein and Sons in Chicago, the same firm that designed the Chicago Public Library, the Stone Container Building and the McCormick Place South and West expansions in Chicago.

The maximum height for the new building is 80 feet, although the developer could ask for a variance, said village planner Craig Failor.

Glazier said he would like approval for the entire project this year, but if it's delayed too long, he suggested he might only redevelop the restaurant and grocery site.

Village President David Pope said it makes sense to redevelop the property as a whole.

As for the popular Original Pancake House, Pope said he hopes the restaurant can relocate in the village so residents can continue to enjoy the famous apple pancakes..

Meanwhile, the fate of the beleaguered Colt Building in downtown remains uncertain after the village received two proposals for the site--one for demolition and the other to restore the former Art-Deco shopping arcade.

The Village Board last week rejected both proposals, opting instead to hold onto the property in hopes that interest in the site will increase as various downtown projects come to fruition.

The village bought the property for nearly $5 million after a redevelopment agreement could not be reached with the previous owner a year ago. Built in the 1920s as an arcade of shops, the central open atrium was filled in during the 1950s. The Lake Street side is Art Deco, and the Westgate Street entrance fits in with English Tudor facades.

Pope said the small number of proposals reflects the overall lack of direction regarding how the Colt property fits into any future downtown plans.

But with nearby Marion Street reopening to traffic later this year and a North Boulevard parking garage in the early planning stages, interest in Oak Park's downtown is on the rise, he said.

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Old March 26th, 2007, 05:59 PM   #140
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Movie Theater in Rosemont, IL


Start Buttering The Popcorn
New Movie Theater About 50% Finished


Journal City Editor

Construction on the movie theater meant to wow both residents and visitors in and around Rosemont is half finished.

Despite the theater's progress, officials believe an early opening may be out of the question.

"I doubt that," said George Figler, senior project manager for Muvico movie theaters, on an early opening. He blamed it on the cold and snowy weather that tumbled through the midwest early this year. "We're probably about 50% complete...It's a struggle to get back on track."

Currently, the gray exterior shell isn't much to look at, but rather a towering arrangement of high walls assembling the theater's outer shell. It sits at the dead end of Bryn Mar just west of River Road facing the Rosemont Theater parking lot and the I-294 Tollway.

By August, it will be sprinkled with brilliant, bright lights in a classic movie theater entrance to welcome patrons in.

Currently, crews are working on delineating auditoriums inside the structure under a newly built roof. Figler explained that crews are in the raw concrete and shell stage. Installation of screens and seats should start later this month.

The theater is expected to attract not only residents in the northwest suburbs, but also thousands of visitors that fly in and out of O'Hare Airport for local workshops and conventions each week.

This theater will be the first powered my Muvico to enter the Chicagoland area.

"We've been looking to get into this market for quite some time," Figler said about Chicago. "We're just unusual in the way we do business."

The theater will join three new hotels and dozens of restaurants and retail shops to sit around the Rosemont Theater off River Road on the southern edge of town. Together, it will create a $500 million Rosemont Walk entertainment district.

Muvico Vice President of Corporate Communications John Spano called the theater "different," priding itself on a VIP quality experience.

When finished, the theater will include a premiere level of movie viewing, priced separately from general admission. Some viewing would be open to patrons 21 or older. There, viewers can bring alcoholic drinks, deserts or other goodies purchased from a full service restaurant and bar in with them to the show.

"It really differentiates ourselves in the industry," said Spano.

Such premiere tickets would also include a reserved seat, valet parking and popcorn. The theater will also cater to parents by providing a child care center and play room so parents "can now go back to that spontaneity" of traditional movie-going.The theater will also include concession stands loaded with extra goodies like quesadillas, popcorn shrimp and other snacks not usually found in movie theaters.

"At Muvico, we pride ourselves on providing the premiere movie experience," said Spano. He expects the company to start aggressively hiring in June and plans to target students at neighboring high schools like those in Maine and Leyden Township. The company looks to hire about 200 people to man its restaurant, bar, theater and management. It also expects to reach out through the Rosemont Chamber of Commerce.

Muvico currently owns 13 other theaters with as many as 249 screens.

"We look forward to wowing our audiences in the Chicago market and Rosemont is a perfect fit for us."
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