Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Harper Court RFP Released

posted by chicago pop

Released November 18 from the University of Chicago:

The University of Chicago and the city's Department of Planning and Development presented today before the Community Development Commission to initiate a process to redevelop a 3-acre site at 53rd Street and Lake Park Avenue.

The University of Chicago and the City of Chicago formally requested issuance of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a single site that combines two parcels: the University-owned Harper Court property at 52nd and Harper and the city-owned parking lot at 52nd and Lake Park.

For the last several months, the University has collaborated with Fourth Ward Alderman Toni Preckwinkle and the city's Department of Planning and Development to spur development of a high-quality, mixed use project that becomes a cohesive, active neighborhood core.

"We are excited by this opportunity. The University is committed to a more vibrant community and more choices in retail, housing, and entertainment," said Susan Campbell, Associate Vice President for Civic Engagement. "The collaboration between the University and the city provides a unified property with significant scale, a project that can transform the neighborhood and foster additional new development on 53rd Street and in the surrounding community.

The goals of the project include creating a vibrant neighborhood core, combining a high-quality mix of commercial uses, new housing options, increased daytime and nighttime population, and high-quality urban design and architecture. "We have been gratified by the interest that this project has generated, especially from top-tier developers from across the nation," Campbell said. "And we are pleased to see that the community involvement – including ongoing working groups, surveys, and visioning exercises – have informed the goal-setting process. We are thankful for the leadership of Alderman Preckwinkle in this process and for the devotion of countless community members who have participated in the workshops that helped inform the vision for this project."

Harper Court opened in 1965 with the mission of providing space to arts-oriented businesses. One building in the complex, 5201 S. Harper has undergone recent renovations and is home to The Checkerboard Lounge and Park 52 Restaurant.

In recent years, mixed-use projects near university campuses and transit stations have been successful throughout the United States. These projects have attracted residents and retail and significant new investment. Examples include the neighborhoods surrounding DePaul and Northwestern, locally and the University of Pennsylvania nationally.

The redevelopment of Harper Court is seen as an opportunity to create a commercial district to serve the community and to serve as a destination that communicates the distinctive qualities of Hyde Park and the University of Chicago. As part of the 53rd Street TIF project, the redevelopment seeks to revitalize valuable urban land and accommodate the needs of the community.

The University and the city's Department of Planning and Development requested from the Community Development Commission a two-part RFP (Request for Qualification/Request for Proposal) to qualify and select developers interested in the project's proximity to the University, Hyde Park community, and to the existing METRA transit station.


Ben said...

Does this not include the old theater building at 53rd and Harper? I thought that was getting thrown into the mix as well.

chicago pop said...

ben: I think that's up for development, but not as part of this RFP. I think it's tacked on the a separate project, the one including the small storefronts of the old Herald Building on 53rd.

Heckuva time to come out with an RFP for anything. I have a feeling, NIMBYs or no NIMBYs, it's going to be a looong time before anything gets built that isn't financed out-of-pocket, and those things are rare.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Yeah, Chicago Pop, I think White Lodging was the last company willing to build in Hyde Park during a recession.