Massive developments underway in emerging neighborhoods

Vacant land for future residential development is abundant on Chicago’s Near South Side and Near West Side, and with the economy picking up, experts say 2004 could be a boom year for new housing in the city. Three major mixed-use residential developments totaling nearly 5,500 new units are planned for construction in 2004 and beyond on nearly 100 prime acres of land in Chicago.

Here is an overview of the three big projects in the pipeline, valued at a total of nearly $2 billion dollars:

Riverbank mix. After more than two years of planning, Rezmar Development Group recently submitted official plans to the Chicago Plan Commission for a major mixed-use development called Riverside Park. The $1.5 billion venture will utilize the 62-acre tract of undeveloped land along the south branch of the Chicago River between Roosevelt, 16th, and Clark. The master plan for Riverside Park received zoning approval from the City Council as a planned-unit development on March 31.

Plans for Riverside Park call for a mix of new retail space, restaurants and other commercial uses as well as 4,614 residential units in various styles and price points, from mid-rise and highrise condominiums to luxury townhomes and lofts, according to Judi Fishman, project manager for the development team.

For-sale housing will range from about $200,000 to more than $1 million. Marketing of the housing phase will begin in 2005, Fishman said. “Some 670,000 square feet of commercial space in the development will bring much needed lifestyle retail to the South Loop and an exciting riverwalk retail and entertainment district,” Fishman said. For more information, visit

West Side renaissance. With the development of Westhaven Park, a new $200 million residential community, the Near West Side is poised for a major residential building boom, real estate experts say.

A recently launched new condominium and rental apartment phase of Westhaven Park is part of a larger 764-unit development that is transforming the rapidly emerging area. Some 155 new apartment units are being delivered this spring, and 173 condominiums will be delivered next year as part of the latest 26-acre phase, according to co-developers Brinshore Development, LLC and the Michaels Development Co.

Westhaven Park’s new phase is an innovative residential neighborhood of mid-rise condominiums and three-story “city flats” being developed two blocks north the United Center, said developer Richard J. Sciortino, president of Brinshore.

“With one-bedroom units starting at $175,300 and large two-bedroom residences beginning at $220,500, Westhaven Park is the most affordably priced new condominium development in the West Loop and Near West Side,” said Sciortino.

The new Westhaven Park residential enclave is being developed on the site of the former Henry Horner Homes housing complex, bounded by Hermitage, Lake Street, Oakley and Washington. For more information, visit

Bronzeville revival. Jazz on the Boulevard, a unique 137-unit development of luxury rowhomes, condominiums and townhomes, is underway in the rapidly redeveloping North Kenwood-Bronzeville area on the Near South Side. Plans for the mixed-income residential development call for 98 for-sale homes and 39 rental apartments. Jazz on the Boulevard is being developed through a joint venture of Thrush, Granite Development and Century Place Development Corp.

“The $35 million redevelopment along three full blocks on the west side of Drexel Boulevard, between 41st Street and 42nd Place offers a unique opportunity to restore the original grandeur to what was historically one of the finest examples of Chicago’s Boulevard system,” said co-developer David L. Chase, president and CEO of The Thrush Companies.

Phase I of Jazz on the Boulevard will consist of 18 condominiums and townhomes on East 42nd Place and Drexel Boulevard. Fourteen units have been sold during the sneak preview sales period. Phase II of the development will consist of 108 condominiums, townhomes and rental units. Plans for Phase III call for 11 condominiums, rowhomes and rental units.

Condominiums range from $149,000 for a one-bedroom to $269,000 for a three-bedroom two-bath layout. Townhomes feature two bedrooms, 2.5 baths and 2,008 square feet of living area, priced from $319,000 to $344,000. For more information visit www.ThrushHomescom.

Real estate columnist and media consultant Don DeBat has written about Chicago-area housing and mortgage markets since 1968. He is chief executive officer of DeBat Media, Inc.,

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