posted by Richard Gill
The developer, L3, is seeking a zoning change, which requires approval of a Planned Development (PD). The April 23 public meeting was among the requirements for the PD process, which is expected to take about 12 months.
John Roberson represented L3; he is a former Chicago Buildings Commissioner. Joe Antunovich represented Antunovich Associates, the project architect. The new Catholic Theological Union building, on Cornell at 54th, is one of their recent projects.
The 53rd & Cornell project proposal has changed somewhat since the original proposal. It is now a rental building, instead of condominium--a change driven by the current market. The "affordable-housing" units (15% of the total 206 apartments) are in the building, instead of off-site. The building is 20 stories tall (to incorporate the affordable units), instead of 17. Off-street parking will be provided for the ground-level retail establishments. (There was some light-hearted banter about bringing back the Tiki Lounge.) The parking entrance is on Cornell, and there are 1.19 parking spaces per apartment. A small section of property is to be transferred to the adjacent town homes. The PD now includes the Akiba Schecter parking lot across Cornell (which will remain a parking lot) instead of the commercial building across 53rd Street.
The proposed L3 building is adjacent to the Metra 53rd Street station, and is considered a Transit Oriented Development.
L3 says it anticipates debt-equity financing for the whole project--no government money.
Some other details: Pets allowed, laundry machines in units, roof garden above garage. Affordable-Housing units to be scattered throughout the building; same size as market-rate units, but maybe with different finishes.
About 80 to 100 people attended this meeting, which was civilized on an absolute basis (not just civilized by comparison with Hyde Park meetings).
The next step will be a meeting of the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council, Monday May 12, 7PM at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club. That meeting, too, will be open to the public.