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Old January 28th, 2006, 08:41 PM   #661
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Old January 29th, 2006, 12:37 AM   #662
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyguy
[url]
Does anyone else think there should be a Chicago Retail/Economy thread to put this kind of stuff in?
Yes.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 05:08 AM   #663
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I know BVictor already mentioned this before, but now they have a website too.

The Huron Club




The website claims 28 floors
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Old January 30th, 2006, 08:40 PM   #664
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INSIDE INFORMATION

NEW CONSTRUCTION

Published January 30, 2006


The following construction projects are coming up for bid. Listings include project city, name of project, address, description, start date and project value. Complete bidding details and contact information can be found at BidClerk.com.

COOK COUNTY

Calumet City--Superior Oaks apartments renovation, 1229 Superior St., apartment complex renovations, March, $75,000.

Chicago--Riverside District, 1200 S. Clark St., 62-acre mixed-use development, September, $200 million.

Chicago--Kenwood condominium conversion, 6101 S. Kenwood Ave., 7-unit condominium conversion, February, $800,000.

Chicago--University of Chicago Wyler inpatient units, 5837 S. Maryland Ave., hospital addition and renovations, March, $2 million.

Chicago--Block 37 retail building, 108 N. State St., 400,000-square-foot mixed-use building, February, $200 million.

Evergreen Park--Evergreen Park retail center, 95th Street and Maplewood Avenue, 8,200-square-foot retail building, April, $700,000.

Midlothian--Meadow Station apartments, 14525 S. Pulaski Rd., apartment complex renovation, March, $75,000.

Oak Park--Ridge Art renovation, 21 Harrison St., 1,200-square-foot retail renovation, March, $50,000.

Orland Park--Eden Salon & Spa, 9500 143rd St., 2,300-square-foot salon, February, $100,000.

Skokie--Evanston Golf Club clubhouse, 4401 Dempster St., new clubhouse, March, $1 million.

University Park--Fairway Club Estates, 25500 Old Monee Road, 194-unit residential subdivision, February, $53.5 million.

Willow Springs--Willow Springs funeral home, to be announced, new funeral home, March, $1.3 million.

DUPAGE COUNTY

Glen Ellyn--Pennsylvania Avenue mixed-use, 360 Pennsylvania Ave., 3-story mixed-use building, June, $350,000.

Lombard--Yorkbrook Condominiums-phases II & III, 2020 Saint Regis Drive, residential development, January, $5 million.

Naperville--Edward Hospital addition, 801 S. Washington St., 60,000-square-foot hospital addition, April, $12 million.

Oswego Village--Meijer, U.S. Highway 34 and Douglas Road, 200,000-square-foot retail store, February, $9 million.

West Chicago--Menards-Phase III, 220 W. North Ave., 15,000-square-foot garden center, February, $1.3 million.

Wheaton--Reber Street residential development, 201-207 Reber St., 256-unit residential development, February, $20 million.

KANE COUNTY

Aurora--Ace Hardware manufacturing plant, 2160 Molitor Rd., 72.28-acre manufacturing complex, November, $24 million.

Aurora--Wal-Mart, East Indian Trail and North Farnsworth Avenue, 203,819-square-foot retail store, April 2007, $15.7 million.

Aurora--White Oak West business park, Molitor Road and Felton Street, 47-acre business park, $20 million.

Carpentersville--Carpentersville retail, 27 S. Western Ave., 11,000-square-foot retail center and bank, March, $3 million.

Elgin--Trinity Chase subdivision, 3150 U.S. Highway 20, residential subdivision, May, $5 million.

LAKE COUNTY

Deerfield--National City Bank, 401 Lake Cook Rd., 3,500-square-foot bank, April, $400,000.

Gurnee--Nike Factory Store, 6170 Grand Ave., 5,000-square-foot shoe store, February, $250,000.

Mundelein--Mundelein Community Bank, 1110 W. Maple, bank tenant improvements, February, $900,000.

MCHENRY COUNTY

Crystal Lake--Randall Road Animal Hospital, 435 Angela Lane, 2,500-square-foot animal hospital, June, $350,000.

Crystal Lake--Congress Station retail center, Congress Parkway and Exchange Drive, 18,000-square-foot retail center, May, $2 million.

WILL COUNTY

Beecher--Montalbano Homes, 400 residential units, February, $40 million.

Bolingbrook--Precious Pets crematory, 530 W. Boughton Rd., 12,192-square-foot pet crematory building, March, $1.4 million.

Romeoville--Pollmann building, Airport and Weber Roads, 25,000-square-foot industrial building, February, $1.1 million.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 12:04 AM   #665
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http://www.suntimes.com/output/busin...in-dean30.html

Palmer House Hilton gets new manager
January 30, 2006
BY JAVEEN CASTILE Business Reporter

Just a snippet:

As manager of the Palmer House Hilton, Lane will be responsible for overseeing a $100 million renovation of the hotel. The project includes an expanded retail center, more restaurants and redecorated guest rooms and conference rooms.
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 06:12 PM   #666
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Planned Transformation Includes Renovated Condominium-Hotel Units and a
Revitalized Pump Room

Partnership Includes Mid-America Development Partners, The Harp Group and
Portfolio Hotels and Resorts

CHICAGO, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fordham Company today announced the
acquisition and redevelopment of Chicago's famed Ambassador East Hotel,
located at 1301 N. State Parkway in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. The
complete transformation of the classic 1926 hotel will include exquisite
condominium-hotel units designed by Laurie Miller and a revitalized Pump Room.
Financing was provided by Fremont Investment and Loan.
"With an incredible team in place that has their fingers on the pulse of
design, culinary treasures, exciting entertainment and high-end hotel
management, we will re-establish the Ambassador East as one of Chicago's
finest destinations," said Christopher Carley, chairman of The Fordham
Company. The property will include one of Chicago's finest spa and fitness
centers and a new indoor pool, subject to city approval. "By beautifully
appointing every room and leisure area in the Ambassador East, its elegance,
charm and legacy will be restored and rebranded immediately as a new classic."
The Fordham Company, a leading developer of the most exclusive and
prestigious residential buildings in Chicago, including the planned Fordham
Spire by Santiago Calatrava, the beautiful eight-story 65 E. Goethe, the
award-winning Fordham at 25 E. Superior and the Pinnacle at 21 E. Huron, has
begun taking reservations for the distinguished condominium-hotel units at the
Ambassador East. They range in size from approximately 300 to 1,500 square
feet, and prices range from $275,000 to $1,400,000.
Carley has established an outstanding partnership with a seasoned
management team for the redevelopment project, including:

-- Chicago, Ill.-based Portfolio Hotels and Resorts, led by Helmut Horn,
president, who also served as general manager of the Ambassador East
during its height of popularity, and Graham Hershman, COO. Portfolio
manages destination resorts and urban hotels, and provides asset
management and consultation services for owners and investors.
-- Oak Brook, Ill.-based Mid-America Development Partners, LLC, led by
David P. Bossy, president, and Michael D. Firsel, principal and CEO.
Mid-America is a full-service real estate development firm committed to
creating functional, attractive developments that enhance their
surrounding communities.
-- Lombard, Ill.-based The Harp Group, led by Peter G. Dumon, president,
and Timothy G. Franzen, senior vice president. The Harp Group
specializes in hospitality and retail development and brands itself as
a "value creation enterprise" that strives for uniqueness in every
project.


The Ambassador East Hotel has become a part of the Preferred Hotel Group,
which features worldwide premier hotels, including The Peninsula Chicago and
Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. The Ambassador East is rich in Chicago tradition. For
nearly 80 years, movie stars have called it their home away from Hollywood and
dined at the hotel's famed Pump Room. The Ambassador East has been the setting
for many movies, including Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest and My Body
Guard.
The Fordham Company is currently accepting inquiries from prospective
purchasers at its Sales Center, located at 15 E. Huron in Chicago, Ill. Office
hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday; and
noon-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information on purchasing a unit or to schedule
appointments, please call 312-587-0660, log onto the Ambassador East condo
sales Web site at http://www.ambassadoreast.net or visit
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Old February 4th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #667
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http://www.nearwestgazette.com/News/newsstory_e.htm

South Loop community to be on development ‘center stage’ in 2006

By Marie Balice Ward


More than 20 developments are on the drawing boards or further along in the development process in the South Loop, said Dennis McClendon, Chicago historian and member of the South Loop Neighbors group, at a recent meeting and presentation.

Three developments of particular interest will be situated south and west of the Dearborn Park/Printers Row communities in the South Loop. They consist of a trio of residential towers by Concord Homes, an expansive retail/ residential development by Centrum Properties Inc. named the Roosevelt Collection, and a rental residential structure by 900 South Clark Associates

Retail/residential complex

The Roosevelt Collection, by Centrum Properties Inc. with owners/ seller the Walsh Group, is being designed by lead architect Hirsch Associates LLC as well as the architectural firm RTKL. Representing the Walsh Group at the South Loop Neighbors meeting was Gregory A. Ciambrone, vice president, strategic investments.

This mixed-use development will encompass the area from 1000 south to Roosevelt Road and from Clark Street to Wells Street. Two elevations are planned, explained Howard M. Hirsch, AIA, president of Hirsch Associates. The plan features a “grand boulevard” in the center of the property, flanked by two stories of retail space with five stories of residential units above them. Twoway vehicular traffic will be permitted on the boulevard.

Retail space will total about 400,000 square feet, of which 20% to 25% will be occupied by a multiscreen cinema. Plans also include restaurants and cafes in addition to stores. Lisa J. Balis, senior vice president of retail development at Centrum Properties, explained her firm is seeking a mix of local, regional, and national stores, “including some of the same stores currently on Michigan Avenue,” she said. Parking will accommodate a ratio of three cars for every 1,000 square feet of retail space, she added.

Residential units will total 1,000. Hirsch said this figure represents only about 50% of the residential units allowed by the City for this site, resulting in less density than in many developments.

“It will be a very pedestrian friendly urban environment,” said Hirsch. Besides the boulevard, those on foot will make use of staircases, elevators, and a bridge to the cinema complex. Groundbreaking may begin in late 2006.

Rental highrise on Clark

The rental residential development by 900 South Clark Associates will encompass 440 residential units, of which 75% will be studios and one bedroom units, explained Stephen Ross of Amli Residential. Solomon Cordwell Buenz is the architect.

This rental property, to be located south of a condominium development by Concord Homes, will be set back about 25 feet from Clark Street and sport 23 stories with a “green” (environmentally friendly) roof. Other features are a courtyard-like open area in the center and parking decks at the building’s rear. The expected buyer profile for this rental property, Ross explained, is young professionals with no children who work downtown. Other amenities include a dog run, fitness center, internet café, theater room, and rooftop activity center. The design also calls for approximately seven townhouses, although plans are extremely preliminary, Ross said, and currently are being reviewed by the City.

A need for rental properties is apparent, Ross said, as several rental buildings recently have converted to condominiums, including the large River City complex in the South Loop.

Tower Trio met with opposition

At a Dearborn Park Advisory Council meeting, Concord Homes (recently acquired by Lennar, a major national development company) presented its plans for a major condominium development at Polk Street and Clark Street. The three towers will add 1,000 residential units to the area, and the structures will be staggered on the site to allow for views and light.

Planners have set aside a substantial area for a park. Bernard I. Citron of Schain, Burney, Ross & Citron Ltd., attorney for the project, said each tower will be about 35 stories or 300 feet high. The plan, which is being reviewed by Alderman Madeline Haithcock and the City, explained Citron, also calls for substantial infrastructure work, including extending Ninth Street in accordance with a City request. The extension will not align directly with the current Ninth Street, however, Citron explained. Designs will be developed subsequent to site plan approval by the City.

Peter Ziv, a board member of South Loop Neighbors and a member of the Folio Square condominium board, voiced concerns about this project. At the January 4 meeting, he said, “back on July 1, 2004, the project was presented to the Folio Square association where 280 units were announced to be situated on this site. This number has been tripled between that date and today.”

To ease Folio Square opposition, developers are planning a green roof to create a more aesthetic view for residents of the Folio Square building and help absorb rainwater, Citron explained.

Ziv countered, “This project violates the original South Loop Plan. And, Polk Street was never intended to be a main thoroughfare. This project along, with the one by Terrapin, will create an atrocious ‘canyon’ effect on Polk Street.” Ziv also advised meeting attendees of a website detailing information about opposition to the project, www.polkstreetcanyon.com, and a petition also opposing it that has garnered 600 signatures. Ziv reiterated his sentiments at the South Loop Neighbors’ meeting on Jan. 11.

In reply to Ziv’s statements, at the January 4 Dearborn Park Advisory Council meeting Citron said, “Circumstances have changed [since July 2004]. Traffic pattern studies are underway. We have found that 50% of area residents do not drive to work.” The City’s zoning allows for the 1,000 units, he added. Matt Wos and Michael Hernandez of the Dearborn Park Advisory Council expressed the group’s appreciation for Concord’s presentation and willingness to field questions from the community and actively seek community participation.

The development process for this project still has far to go, following meetings with Alderman Haithcock and the City Planning and Development office. Among the necessary steps, Hirsch explained, are public hearings, zoning committee meetings, and ultimately review/approval by the full City Council.
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Old February 7th, 2006, 12:37 AM   #668
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...i-business-hed

NEW CONSTRUCTION

Published February 6, 2006


COOK COUNTY

Chicago--Riverside Park, Roosevelt Road and 16th Street, 62-acre mixed-use development, January 2007, $1 billion.

Chicago--Tides at Lakeshore East, 360 E. South Water St., 607-unit apartment building, March, $60 million.
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Old February 7th, 2006, 03:08 AM   #669
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyguy

NEW CONSTRUCTION

Published February 6, 2006


COOK COUNTY

Chicago--Riverside Park, Roosevelt Road and 16th Street, 62-acre mixed-use development, January 2007, $1 billion.
[/b]
Has anybody seen this?


8/10/2005 10:00:00 PM
Rezko allegations stall Riverside Park
River fronts and minority fronts don’t mix in the South Loop

By HAYDN BUSH, Staff Writer


With 63 acres of never-developed land, the area stretching southwest from the corner of Roosevelt and Clark comprises the city’s only greenfield. The land, bounded by Roosevelt Road, the St. Charles Railroad line and the Chicago River, was created when a stretch of the South Branch of the Chicago River was straightened in the 1930s. Since then, the anomalous area a mile from the Loop has played host only to trees, weeds, and squatters. And an ambitious proposal by the Rezmar development team to redevelop the land into a mix of high-end retail and 1,400 new homes may end up dead in the weeds, thanks to the legal troubles of Rezmar co-founder Antonin Rezko.

Rezko was accused earlier this year of managing two Panda Express outlets at O’Hare that were purportedly owned by Crucial, Inc. under the leadership of Jabir Herbert Muhammad. The contracts were initially awarded through the city’s minority contracts program, and Rezko withdrew his interest in the restaurants after the city announced its investigation.

Rezmar has sought nearly $140 million in Tax Increment Financing funds to help install sewers, set up electricity, and build roads in the forlorn area, and city officials have heretofore declined comment on whether the allegations that he set up Crucial, Inc. as a front company would impact the Riverside Park bid.

But DPD spokesperson Connie Buscemi said Wednesday that the city Planning Department is convening with the city’s Law Department to determine whether Rezko’s connection to the Panda Express outfits will sink Riverside Park. Rezmar officials did not return calls for comment this week.

"We’re working with the Law Department and evaluating it," Buscemi said. "Whenever developers make a request for public money, economic disclosure statements must be filed. Those may have an impact on the final outcome."

Buscemi acknowledged that the massive seed money required to develop the 63-acre site—which has no roads, sewers or electricity and until recently was home to squatters—will ultimately, require public funding, Riverside Park notwithstanding.

"We always knew that infrastructure costs for developing land would require city assistance," Buscemi said.

South Loop Neighbors President Leslie Sturino has mixed feelings about the possible Riverside Park delays. While she’s concerned by the allegations against Rezko, Sturino pointed out that the Riverside Park plan has been universally hailed by South Loop community groups for its plan to develop one of the last chunks of vacant land near downtown.

"Somebody that has demonstrated some abuse of the public trust shouldn’t be anywhere near public money," Sturino said, adding that "it’s a shame not to see an excellent project like Riverside Park go through."

When Rezmar released an updated site plan earlier this year, highlights included a 12-story, Art Deco-style building at the center of the retail development, and a public square at 13th Place and LaSalle Street. The company had been seeking high-end retailers from outside of the United States for the storefronts, Rezmar spokesperson Judi Fishman said earlier this year. The first phase of development was to have included 1,100 residential units, in a mix of condominiums and lofts above the new storefronts.

Eventually, the Riverside Park development would proceed south with a mix of a mix of townhouses, high rises and a new riverfront park beyond 14th Street. The project would also include a new bus service on the freshly constructed stretch of South Wells Street.
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Old February 7th, 2006, 06:24 AM   #670
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Does the notice to bid show they are proceeding with the project?
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Old February 7th, 2006, 11:57 AM   #671
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WRT The Tides: $60 million seems low for an apartment building with 607 units... Am I missing something?
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Old February 7th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #672
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..

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Old February 8th, 2006, 11:47 PM   #673
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Old February 9th, 2006, 01:43 AM   #674
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Hyatt is considering the Hancock building? Why would they use Bietler as the developer and not Pritzker Realty? That is surprising with the Park Hyatt Chicago across the street as well. I think Bietler is blowing smoke up everyones asses again.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 06:17 AM   #675
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Never going to happen. Is it just me or is anyone else worried about this massive influx in hotel rooms. I mean I can count 6 super high end hotels off the top of my head that will all be in the downtown vicinity within the next three years. Not just cheap Hiltons but top of the line $400 a night base room rates so whose going to fill them...?
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Old February 9th, 2006, 07:54 PM   #676
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West Loop is getting more attention!!!!!

Developers Eye West Loop, East-West Corridor for Office-Condos
By Mark Ruda
Last updated: February 9, 2006 08:55am
http://www.globest.com/news/471_471/.../142801-1.html

CHICAGO-A 48-year-old West Loop office building, across the street from Sears Tower, is getting an $18-million makeover, part of a conversion to office-condominiums. Meanwhile, CD Real Estate Development LLC plans to build 119,000 sf of office-condominiums mostly from the ground up on 17 acres on Diehl Road near Interstate 88 in Naperville.

Mercantile Financial Center, LLC paid $16.7 million for the 230,064-sf building at 250 S. Wacker Dr. last year from another limited liability corporation. Mercantile Financial Center, LLC is renovating the building’s facade, replacing windows, adding terrazzo flooring in the lobby as well as a fitness center in an attempt to lift the their property from class C to class A status. They plan to sell office-condominiums ranging from 2,841 sf to 18,114 sf at prices starting at $221 per sf. In addition to office-condominiums, the renovated building will include 15,348 sf of ground-floor retail space, which can be divided into two or three units.

Plans by local developers Charles Podczerwinski and Denice Gierach call for 14 buildings, ranging from 5,000 sf, with units ranging from 1,200 sf to 7,000 sf. An existing 26,000-sf building will be renovated. Grubb & Ellis senior vice president Michael Fortuna and associate Brett Ratay will handle sales of the office-condominiums.

In a recent report on the office-condominium phenomenon, Grubb & Ellis national director of market analysis Robert Bach and PNC Real Estate Finance senior analyst Elizabeth Ptacek noted the concept is in nascent states in Downtown Chicago. Nine buildings totaling one million sf are going to the office-condominium concept, they report, but only one of them is 100% sold. Recently launched projects include conversion of the 290,000-sf Garland Building at 111 N. Wabash Ave., bought by FIC Development Group late last summer for $24 million.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:27 PM   #677
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A zoning change notice has been posted on the office building just north of 18th St. on the west side of Prairie Ave. that indicates that a developer proposes to build 2 highrises and some townhomes on the lot totaling over 500 units. Does anyone know who the developer is?
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:55 PM   #678
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Old February 10th, 2006, 02:04 AM   #679
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascacielos
A zoning change notice has been posted on the office building just north of 18th St. on the west side of Prairie Ave. that indicates that a developer proposes to build 2 highrises and some townhomes on the lot totaling over 500 units. Does anyone know who the developer is?
It's for 1600 Museum Park



As mentioned below, it will be coming before the planning commission next week. It's only 1 highrise though. At least as far as I know. I'll post more information after the meeting as to whether there's more than one highrise for that particular application.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 02:00 PM   #680
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New Heliport on lakefront

Not sure where to put this but I thought it intrasting. I think its a good idea...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

No Meigs? How about a heliport?
3 years after lake airstrip bulldozed, city OKs new site

By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune transportation reporter
Published February 9, 2006, 10:40 PM CST


Chicago will open a heliport on the lakefront just south of Navy Pier this spring for use by police and fire helicopters, other emergency first-responders and some private choppers, under a city plan approved by the state and federal governments, the Tribune has learned.

The city's resumption of aviation access to downtown comes almost three years after Mayor Richard Daley, saying he was protecting the Sears Tower and other high-rises from a possible terrorist attack by a bomb-laden light plane, ordered his infamous midnight raid to demolish Meigs Field.

A single helicopter landing pad with one parking spot, officially dubbed the Chicago Helistop, is expected to open as early as April, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. The helistop, smaller than a traditional heliport that accommodates multiple copters, will be at the marine safety station near the mouth of the Chicago River on a concrete platform in Lake Michigan known as South Pier.
"Particularly after the 9/11 attacks, a location close to the center of the city is critical for Chicago and critical for all of us to be able to respond quickly in an emergency," said Susan Shea, director of aeronautics for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

IDOT and the Federal Aviation Administration recently approved the helistop after it passed an inspection for restricted landing areas and an FAA airspace safety study that examined possible conflicts between the helistop and Midway Airport and Children's Memorial Hospital, which has its own helicopter landing pad.

No obstacles expected

Zoning changes providing the final clearance for helicopter operations to start are expected to go before the City Council in a few weeks, officials said, adding that no major objections are expected.

Helicopters will approach and depart the helistop over the lake, officials said, minimizing noise affecting lakefront residences and the Streeterville neighborhood and eliminating safety concerns about helicopters flying over downtown skyscrapers.

The city's decision to build the helistop, on Park District-owned land even closer to downtown than Meigs was, appears to signal that Daley no longer thinks a landing facility near downtown would increase the terrorist threat.

But the mayor said the need to protect Chicagoans from an attack has not gone away. When asked Thursday about President Bush's disclosure of a purported terrorist plot to crash a plane into a skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles in 2002, Daley said: "We have not changed. I can go out and get a two-engine plane, get in it and fly any place in America except over Disneyland."

Early on March 30, 2003, under floodlights and escorted by police, bulldozers carved large "X's" into the single runway at Meigs on Northerly Island, a move that Daley said was necessary to protect the downtown from menacing small aircraft.

Meigs, which for 55 years was used mostly by private pilots and business people who appreciated the airfield's proximity to downtown, also had seven helicopter pads used by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Fire Department marine rescue unit, nearby hospitals and the public.

"The city's new helistop shows that Meigs was closed under false pretenses," said Josh Levy, spokesman for the Friends of Meigs Field, a booster organization for the former airport.

Levy, a private airplane pilot, said there is still a need for a downtown landing facility to accommodate fixed-wing aircraft.

The city is fighting a $33,000 civil penalty imposed by the FAA for failure to provide 30 days' notice before closing Meigs. The Daley administration is transforming that property into a nature sanctuary and entertainment site.

300 flights a month

About 300 flights are expected per month at the helistop, the city said, although the numbers could increase depending on how many private helicopters use the facility.

The helistop will be primarily for helicopters operated by the city's Police and Fire Departments, the Coast Guard, the military, hospitals and other emergency-assistance agencies, said city aviation spokeswoman Wendy Abrams. The dimensions of the touchdown and liftoff area will be 40 feet by 40 feet.

But some privately owned helicopters will be permitted to use the landing and takeoff pad to help the city defray the costs of operating the helistop, she said.

The Coast Guard, the Chicago police marine unit and the Illinois Department of Conservation police will retain their offices in a building next to the pier, city officials said.


The Fire Department's rescue helicopter, which was relocated to 95th Street at the lakefront after the city closed Meigs, will use the new helistop, but the fire chopper will continue to be based on the South Side, officials said.

The Police Department, which began operating its own helicopter in January, said the helistop will support the bird's-eye view used in police patrols, tactical surveillance and homeland security missions.

"We deploy aerial missions every day, and the helistop will help us respond more quickly to reports of missing persons, foot and vehicle pursuits, as well as helping officers on the ground during large public events like the Taste of Chicago," police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.

City officials estimated the cost of upgrading South Pier, near DuSable Harbor, for the helistop at $50,000 to $70,000. The existing concrete pier will be painted orange and white to outline the landing pad and parking place; lighting will be installed for night and low-visibility operations; weather-reporting equipment will be added and a windsock installed.

Private helicopter operators will be required to pass stringent background checks and air-defense security procedures before being allowed to use the helistop, Abrams said.

Minutes from the Loop, the landing and takeoff pad could prove extremely popular with local VIPs and companies seeking to ferry executives by helicopter to downtown from Chicago-area airports.

The helistop potentially could be used by the Secret Service to shuttle the president from O'Hare International Airport to downtown, removing the need for long presidential motorcades that tie up traffic on the Kennedy Expressway.

Chicago-based Boeing Co., which keeps its Midwest-based corporate jets at Gary-Chicago International Airport, was studying the concept of a downtown heliport even before it agreed to move its headquarters to the city.

Boeing surprised by deal

But Boeing officials said they were not aware of the city's helistop plans.The only public notice about the helistop was in a legal ad published late last year in the classified section of a suburban newspaper, according to IDOT documents.

The South Pier location for the helistop was Chicago's second choice. City aviation officials first wanted to build a helicopter pad on top of McCormick Place, but the logistics did not work out, officials said.
Tribune reporter Gary Washburn contributed to this report.

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