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Old July 25th, 2005, 04:46 AM   #161
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Old July 25th, 2005, 06:37 PM   #162
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Condos Set for Retail, Theater Crossroads
By Mark Ruda
Last updated: July 25, 2005 08:32am


CHICAGO-A city-owned site at 151 N. State St. is just south of the Chicago Theater, across Randolph Street from Marshall Field’s flagship store and on the opposite corner of the Mills Corp.’s “Block 37” redevelopment project. Tough competition for any building, not to mention a lackluster two-story structure with a ground-floor Walgreen’s outlet and office space upstairs.


However, Smithfield Properties has sold nearly 75% of the 208 condominiums in its proposed $82-million project, which includes 34,000 sf of retail space. Additionally, Booth Hansen’s steel and concrete design for the 32-story building, with a glass curtain wall and three-story hole, drew mostly praise Thursday, when the plan commission endorsed the project as well as a zoning change.


At 390,000 sf, the project is 27% larger than allowed by current zoning. However, Smithfield Properties received bonuses from the department of planning and development, says assistant commissioner Nori Greenstein, for putting all 68 parking spaces below grade, a $299,000 contribution to the city’s affordable housing fund and upper-level setbacks.


Principal Robert Buono tells GlobeSt.com Smithfield Properties hopes to begin construction in October, with completion scheduled for October 2007. The one-, two- and three-bedroom units range from $285,000 to $600,000, he adds, with pre-sales beginning in February.


Smithfield Properties agreed in 2003 to buy the 0.44-acre site for $9.58 million. However, the company’s original plan called for 124 condominiums and 66 rental units. Smithfield Properties was one of three developers to answer a request for proposals by the city. “You have no idea how many attempts have been made to improve this corner,” says 42nd Ward Alderman Burton Natarus, noting one plan called for a fruit market.


Construction will be staged on site, Buono says, rather than requiring the closing of State Street or disrupt events at the Chicago Theater. The four-story base will be built out last, he explains. Geneva Capital is financing the project, he says.
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Old July 25th, 2005, 07:05 PM   #163
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^I am glad it is finally happening! Out, out, the ugly 2-storys building that house Walgreen!
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Old July 29th, 2005, 09:46 AM   #164
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just wondering what the deal is on the new chicago bridges (info like renderings which i heard were out, and construction dates) especially the new lsd bridge in close proximity to the calatrava building. i hope the new lsd bridge will bring more modern architecture near calatravas tower. just looking for an update
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Old July 30th, 2005, 06:58 PM   #165
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I haven't heard anything about this since the CAF had their whole show about the contest. Didn't know anything was happening?
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Old July 30th, 2005, 07:48 PM   #166
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I strolled down to Central Station yesterday to snap a few progress-shots of Twelve55 South Michigan. I think this project hasn't gotten nearly the buzz it deserves since it is completely redefining the view to the south on Michigan.





this one was taken from the 38th floor of the Parke Millennium


And here's a random shot of Museum Tower. They've started to attach some of the facade to the structure.
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Old July 30th, 2005, 09:10 PM   #167
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Thanks, Geoff. I agree. 1255 S. Michigan, while not a world-class work of architecture, really is adding a distinct look to the southern skyline. I especially like the rounded edge on the east side of that building.

It will eventually be hidden by the taller buildings planned along Roosevelt, though
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Old July 31st, 2005, 02:09 AM   #168
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Actually, I don't think it will. As far as I know, there's nothing that tall planned for the one parcel that seperates Twelve55 from Roosevelt. So, unless something changes (or I'm completely on crack), you'll always be able to see this one looking down Michigan.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 06:07 AM   #169
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John Buck

Buck plays TIF angle
Developer wants downtown district stretched to his site

August 01, 2005
By Alby Gallun

John Buck seeks to add acreage to a new Wacker project site.

John Buck is asking city officials to expand a downtown tax-increment financing district to include a site at Wacker Drive and Randolph Street where he wants to build an office high-rise.

The expansion would make Mr. Buck's development firm, John Buck Co., eligible for public subsidies for the project — his third on Wacker Drive in five years — at a time when the downtown office market is awash in unused space. Yet people familiar with the plan say money generated by expanding the tax-increment financing (TIF) district would be used to spruce up Randolph Street, not subsidize his planned high-rise.

Still, expanding the Central Loop TIF district to include Mr. Buck's project sounds like a bad idea to Gary Denenberg, senior vice-president and managing director at Chicago-based MB Real Estate Inc., a leasing agent for several large downtown office buildings.

"If the city wants to invest in beautifying the city of Chicago, I'm all for that, but I doubt that's what it's about," Mr. Denenberg says. Mr. Buck "is pressing this for the benefit of his own development, which is the last thing the city of Chicago needs."

Mr. Buck is courting tenants for his project, including law firm Jenner & Block LLP, which is "seriously considering" moving from IBM Plaza to the new tower, says Donald Resnick, the Jenner partner overseeing the firm's search for new offices.

To expand the building site, Mr. Buck is trying to buy a building at 312 N. Randolph St. next to the one at 155 N. Wacker Drive, which he bought earlier this year. Both would be torn down to make way for the new project.

"There's nothing final," says Steven A. Weiss, a member of the partnership that owns the Randolph Street building. "We've had discussions, but we've had discussions for a long time."

Real estate industry observers say enlarging the site would enable Mr. Buck to build a tower exceeding

1 million square feet, significantly larger than the 700,000 to 800,000 square feet he could squeeze onto the 155 N. Wacker parcel. That would put the building in the same size range as Buck's recent million-plus-square-foot projects at 1 N. Wacker and 111 S. Wacker.

A bigger site also would allow Mr. Buck to set the building back from neighboring high-rises, improving views from his new skyscraper.

"I've looked at the site; there are definitely some challenges on the view side" at 155 N. Wacker, says Todd Lippman, an executive vice-president in the Chicago office of Los Angeles-based broker CB Richard Ellis Inc.

A Buck Co. spokesman declines to comment, as does a spokeswomen for the city's Department of Planning and Development.

seeking improvements

But people familiar with the developer's plans say he does not intend to seek subsidies to help finance the construction of his project. Instead, he wants the TIF expanded to raise money to pay for streetscaping, parks and other improvements on Randolph Street. While the improvements would benefit the Buck project, they would also benefit other property owners on Randolph.

Mr. Buck spearheaded a similar effort that generated millions for streetscaping on Wacker Drive in the early 1990s.

When the city creates a TIF district, property taxes on real estate within the district are frozen. Instead of going to local governments, money generated by any increase in property taxes is used to subsidize infrastructure and private development within the district.

155 N. Wacker sits just outside the western edge of the Central Loop TIF, meaning it is not eligible for TIF subsidies. Absent an expansion, a tower built there also would not generate any additional funds to be used for other projects in the district.

While the Central Loop TIF expires at the end of 2008, the city is considering trying to extend the life of the district, a move that would require the approval of the state General Assembly (Crain's, July 18). The city also could create a new TIF that would include the Buck Co. project, a move that would require only city approval.

©2005 by Crain Communications Inc.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 06:19 AM   #170
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Please let that development go through. Randolph sucks between Wacker and Wells. Speaking of Wells, the blocks between Randolph and Wacker need to be redeveloped big time. There seems to be a 4 block hole there in the Loop imo.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 07:47 AM   #171
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You have to remember the high vacancy rate. I wish all of this talk of new office towers would quiet down until a considerable proportion of this vacant space can be absorbed. The banks are going to end up with some empty giants on their hands that are not particularly suitable for condo conversion.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 10:16 AM   #172
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Well, the southward march of residential could continue to fill up the gaps in the Loop. It would only serve to further the goal of a true 24-hour district south of the river.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 06:22 PM   #173
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Why can't they put more residential on that 2 block stretch of Wells? It doesnt need to be office space. There are 3 residential buildings in that area now, plus 1 coming later next year, not to mention Waterview. This could become the "residential" part of the West Loop. They should focus more on turing the Loop into more mixed use, rather than more office space. When office space is needed there is River North and Clinton and Canal Streets. Its not a big deal. Clinton will become the new Dearborn once that new subway has connected between the green and blue lines. 2 massive commuter stations, Clinton Street (Canal seems to be built out) has tons of potential.

Put more office space in River North, along State, Dearborn, Clark and LaSalle. Wells in River North should stay residential.
More residential/hotels in the westside of the Loop. Im talking about LaSalle, Clark and Franklin. The West Loop needs a couple of hotels and retail. I like the mix of housing and office space now. But Union Station should have a large hotel near it. The South Loop should probably stay residential/institutional. The East Loop is truely mixed use now, but they could use more services for residents.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 08:28 PM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoff_diamond
Actually, I don't think it will. As far as I know, there's nothing that tall planned for the one parcel that seperates Twelve55 from Roosevelt. So, unless something changes (or I'm completely on crack), you'll always be able to see this one looking down Michigan.
^Oh, come on. That lot will TOTALLY get developed at some point. That plan is for 4 highrises along Roosevelt, starting with 1 Museum Park from the east, up to Michigan Avenue on the west. It's only a matter of time
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Old July 31st, 2005, 08:38 PM   #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LA1
Why can't they put more residential on that 2 block stretch of Wells? It doesnt need to be office space. There are 3 residential buildings in that area now, plus 1 coming later next year, not to mention Waterview. This could become the "residential" part of the West Loop. They should focus more on turing the Loop into more mixed use, rather than more office space. When office space is needed there is River North and Clinton and Canal Streets. Its not a big deal. Clinton will become the new Dearborn once that new subway has connected between the green and blue lines. 2 massive commuter stations, Clinton Street (Canal seems to be built out) has tons of potential.

Put more office space in River North, along State, Dearborn, Clark and LaSalle. Wells in River North should stay residential.
More residential/hotels in the westside of the Loop. Im talking about LaSalle, Clark and Franklin. The West Loop needs a couple of hotels and retail. I like the mix of housing and office space now. But Union Station should have a large hotel near it. The South Loop should probably stay residential/institutional. The East Loop is truely mixed use now, but they could use more services for residents.
^I think you need to read the Central Area Plan.

The plan calls for the east loop to gradually become more residential/institutional, with Michigan/State/Wabash to be the retail/entertainment spine of the entire central area. River North will mostly be residential with some office near the river. The Central and West Loop are supposed to stay mostly office (maybe some residential or mixed-use is some places), but it is suggested that residential be strongly discouraged in the western part of the central loop and in the west loop. They claim, in the Central Area Plan, that this is the ideal area for future office growth and it should be preserved for that, esp considering the plan for the future West Loop Transportation Center and it being the downtown terminus of so many Metra commuter lines (and the expressway being there).

The South Loop is supposed to be an "education and institutional" corridor, with also mostly residential, plus retail corridors along Michigan/State/Wabash and Roosevelt, as well as Cermak.

Regarding the lack of retail in the west loop. That is also planned to change. They discuss making Clinton sort of the "main street" of the west loop office district, with plans for more retail and streetside cafes.

All of these issues have been thorougly examined. For any of you who are interested, I suggest go go to the Dept of Planning & Devt website and read up on the Central Area Plan. It's very well crafted
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Old July 31st, 2005, 08:38 PM   #176
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But there is only one fairly small parcel of land seperating Twelve55 from Roosevelt meaning that there's only one opportunity for something taller to get built. If that westernmost building of the ones you mention isn't taller than Twelve55, its prominence in the southern skyline is forever guaranteed.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 08:52 PM   #177
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the plan for that peice of land in front of twelve55 south is to have a ~620' tower there. that might change of course, but according to the current plan, twelve55 is going to be significantly blocked by the new roosevelt streetwall towers.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 11:33 PM   #178
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I disagree with not adding more residential into the Loop on the Western side. As a result of discouraging residential development on Franklin or W. Randolph...surface parking lots remain. A couple of those ugly blocks of Wells and Randolph remain. They won't be developed until the office market picks up? Thats bullshit, and a terrible strategy. There will always be room for office expansion. I understand the central area plan, but when they made this plan, I dont think they understood the demand of living in downtown like we are seeing now. I wonder if this plan is open to changes here or there.
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Old August 1st, 2005, 02:41 AM   #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LA1
I disagree with not adding more residential into the Loop on the Western side. As a result of discouraging residential development on Franklin or W. Randolph...surface parking lots remain. A couple of those ugly blocks of Wells and Randolph remain. They won't be developed until the office market picks up? Thats bullshit, and a terrible strategy. There will always be room for office expansion. I understand the central area plan, but when they made this plan, I dont think they understood the demand of living in downtown like we are seeing now. I wonder if this plan is open to changes here or there.
First of all, I hate surface parking lots as much as the next guy. But lets be honest--there is no rush to build this area out. It's not unreasonable to wait for the market to catch up. Secondly, it's unlikely that residential will sell very well in this area--for the same reasons you mentioned--it's still pretty much a dead zone in the evenings and weekends, there are very few services for residents, and there are plenty of more-attractive residential enclaves selling in other places. Just look at how hard a time Waterview Tower or Riverbend Tower, or even Skybridge, have had in selling units despite their great views.

Not only that, but the city is recognizing that companies have new needs (larger floorplates, more state-of-the-art facitilities, etc) and are thus abandoning older office buildings in the east loop. The most practical place to build office, therefore, is the west loop--because it is closest to all of the rail and expressway infrastructure. It would make less sense to build office in River North or the South Loop since, even though they are decently served by the CTA, they don't have the same Metra and expressway access that the west loop does. In other words, it's largely about the suburbanites. But who cares--as long as companies move into or stay downtown, that's what matters.

All in all, the westward migration of the office district was inevitable. Those vacant lots really need to be preserved for future office development if downtown Chicago is to stay economically competitive
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 08:34 AM   #180
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Hrmm... is there any information on this 600+ tower? This is the first I've heard of it.
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