Big housing developments planned in Chicago's future

The “City of Big Shoulders” looks as if it’s about to flex its development muscles – again.

Seven major new residential and mixed-use developments with more than 5,000 new housing units are planned for construction in 2003, 2004 and beyond on more than 200 prime acres of land in Chicago, real estate experts say.

Valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, the new developments are targeted for River West, the South Loop, the Near West Side, Old Town, Lincoln Park and Uptown.

“Young professionals and empty nesters seeking a new home in the city increasingly are willing to venture to emerging neighborhoods,” observed housing analyst Garry Benson, partner in Garrison Partners.

“They are willing to buy just west of the Chicago River in East River West; on the Near North Side, on the door step of Cabrini Green; west of Bucktown, in Humboldt Park; and in Bronzeville, on the Near South Side,” Benson said.
Here is an outline of the mega-projects, which include several entirely new residential enclaves:

Fulton River District. Expansion plans in this burgeoning “East River West” neighborhood call for 1,591 highrise units on 4.5 acres bounded by Clinton, Kinzie, Halsted and the Metra railroad tracks.

Preliminary plans of Jameson Development and Fifield Realty Corp. are for five residential towers – two rental buildings and three condominium highrises, according to Harry Huzenis, a Jameson Development partner.

The first phase of the project will be a 35-story rental apartment building with 406 units, slated by Fifield for 2004. Jameson plans a 35-story condominium tower with up to 300 units for development in 2005. Phase I is bounded by Clinton, Kinzie, Jefferson and the Metra railroad tracks.

Riverside Park. Plans for this 62-acre mixed-use development on a former rail yard bounded by the east bank of the Chicago River, Roosevelt Road, Clark and 16th streets, are moving forward in 2003.

Rezmar Development Group plans to file an application with the Chicago Department of Planning to seek rezoning in the first quarter of 2003, real estate insiders said. Although still in the planning stages, the proposed residential and retail development likely will involve several hundred townhomes and condominiums, landscaped open space, a riverwalk and boat slips, real estate sources said.

Planners said the developers would have to solve several infrastructure and road-building issues before Riverside Park could move forward.

North Town Park. A 650-unit mixed-income residential development is planned near Old Town on an 18-acre site bounded by Division, Oak, Larrabee and renovated Seward Park on Orleans.

Co-developers Harold Lichterman, president of Kenard Corp., and Peter Holsten, president of Holsten Real Estate Development Corp., plan townhomes and low-rise apartment and condominium buildings at North Town Park, which sits across Division Street from the new Dominick’s grocery store and a Starbucks. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2004.

Kenard and Holsten recently completed North Town Village, a successful 261-unit mixed-income development nearby at 1401 N. Halsted.

ABLA Redevelopment. LR Development expects to begin construction in 2004 on 2,400 upscale townhomes and mixed-income brick low-rise apartment buildings on a 100-acre tract of Chicago Housing Authority land bounded by Roosevelt Road, Racine and Blue Island avenues on the Near West Side.

The project will replace thousands of units in decaying brick rowhouses and highrises just west of the University of Illinois at Chicago campus.

Wilson Yard. Retail development likely will be a major component in this seven-acre vacant tract formerly owned by the Chicago Transit Authority, between Montrose and Wilson avenues just west of Broadway, in Uptown.
Although no site plan has been formalized, preliminary plans call for senior housing on Montrose and a new Aldi grocery and retail development on Broadway, along with other low-rise rental and for-sale residential units, real estate sources said.

The Chicago Department of Planning and Development chose Kenard Corp. and Holsten Real Estate Development Corp. as developers. Baum Realty Group, Inc. and Andrew Hochberg’s Next Realty will manage the commercial phase. A new CTA Wilson Avenue Red Line station also is planned on the site.

Columbus Hospital site. American Invsco plans to develop three condominium towers overlooking Lincoln Park on the site of Columbus Hospital, 2520 N. Lakeview. Around 200 residential units are planned along with 700 parking spaces on the three-acre site.

The towers would range in height from 21 to 37 stories. Townhomes also are planned along the side streets in front of the towers on Lakeview. Construction is expected to start in 2003.

South Water Market. The 14-acre former produce terminal, on the southeast corner of Racine Avenue and 14th Place, immediately west of the University Village development, was scheduled to be auctioned in mid-January.

Built in 1925, the South Water Market complex includes of six loft-style buildings with raised loading platforms andbroad canopies. The old market likely will be redeveloped into a highly desirable residential community, real estate sources said. A new 27-acre Chicago International Produce Market has opened on Wolcott Street just south of Blue Island Avenue.

Real estate columnist and media consultant Don DeBat has written about Chicago-area housing and mortgage markets since 1968. He is president of Don DeBat and Associates, www.dondebat.net.

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