Parkside's condos and townhouses rejuvenate Old Town

Parkside of Old Town

A decade ago, developers tiptoed around the west side of Old Town with a “here and there” mindset toward redevelopment: a million-dollar townhouse here, a mid-rise over there (and yes, entire city blocks were reconstituted).

But in the midst of it all, Cabrini-Green and its environs continued to serve as a barrier to the cathartic and comprehensive rejuvenation of Old Town – until Parkside of Old Town was born.

Parkside is a mixed-income community from Kimball Hill Urban Centers, Holsten Real Estate Development and Cabrini-Green LAC Community Development. The project is well on its way to completing almost 800 new homes on eight square blocks spread over 18 acres in Old Town, bounded by Larrabee, Division and Oak streets and Seward Park.

“Parkside is truly an infill development,” explains Steve Ryniewicz, a principal with FitzGerald Associates Architects, which designed the project. “Developments were springing up all around the site. Parkside came along and restored the street grid system, made sense of auto and foot traffic, and brought back a feeling of community to the entire neighborhood.”

The project is laid out to look like other neighborhoods that surround the heart of the city. Higher-density housing is found along the busier streets, so mid-rise condo buildings like the The Hudson and The Cambridge were located on bustling Division Street as part of Parkside’s first phase.

The Hudson is just to the west of the two-acre Seward Park, which was meticulously refurbished several years ago. The building has condos with one or two bedrooms and one to two bathrooms, as does its Division Street neighbor, The Cambridge. The Elm, an all-rental mid-rise, is located immediately to the west of The Cambridge, at the corner of Division and Larrabee streets.

Prices in The Hudson and The Cambridge range from the $260s to the $590s. Closings on these units are scheduled for June and July of 2008.

“The trick here was to place the higher density on the exterior of the project without creating a “canyon” effect,” says Ryniewicz. He explains that this was accomplished by using a Chicago-style aesthetic, but varying the elevations and materials and wrapping the mid-rises around the corners to eliminate the look of a wall or barrier.

Phase I also includes low-rise buildings containing 72 two- and three-bedroom townhouses with 1.5 to three baths and attached garages, located behind the mid-rises to the south and priced from the $490s to the $750s.

All buildings are wired for state-of-the-art multimedia, and the condominium residents have access to a fitness center and a business lounge. All Parkside homes include hardwood flooring in living areas, washer/dryer hookups, maple or oak kitchen cabinetry, granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, ceramic bath tile and kitchen islands per plan.

The townhouses have gated entries and Juliette balconies, and some of the condos include balconies or terraces. Condos range from 714 square feet for the smallest one-bedroom to 1,500 square feet for the largest two-bedroom.

“We paid a lot of attention to how people live in designing Parkside,” said Ryniewisz. For example, horizontal living works much better for families, so that the kids can just run out the door to the tot lots. Vertical living is more likely to attract single residents or couples without children.”

Overall sales of Parkside’s first phase are at about 80 percent, says Catherine Hughey, director of sales. Construction on Phase II should begin by the end of the year, with a couple of apartment buildings opening in 2009.

“Parkside is simply remarkable,” says Allison McDonald, development manager for Kimball Hill. “Everything from its location to the quality of the finishes. I have a lot of development experience, and this project is top-of-the-line.”

The Parkside of Old Town sales center is located at 465 W Division St. Hours are weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

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