University announces renovation of 53rd Street buildings
University officials announced at the Jan. 10 meeting of the 53rd Street TIF Council that the University will undertake a major renovation of the theater and office buildings at 53rd Street and Harper Avenue.
Work will begin Thursday on the adaptive reuse project slated for completion this fall, which will provide a home for new restaurant, retail and other tenants. University officials told the TIF Council that they expect to provide news about those tenants in coming weeks and months.
“The University has an interest in saving these buildings,” said Ann Marie Lipinski, Vice President for Civic Engagement. “We believe they are a key piece of our shared efforts with the city to revitalize this important Hyde Park corridor.” The University has owned the 13,000 square-foot office building at 1452-1456 E. 53rd St. since 2003. OKW Architects of Chicago will serve as the lead architect on the renovation of that building, while HSA Commercial Real Estate, a national, full-service real estate firm, will serve as the property manager.
The project scope includes façade work, tuck-pointing and a complete rehabilitation of the interior to make appropriate space for the new tenants and enhance its overall character. Other plans include new windows, signage and outdoor seating capabilities.
University officials said the refurbished office building, which has been vacant for seven years, will generate considerable interest among commercial tenants. The ground floor and second floor each occupy approximately 5,000 square feet. Restaurants and retail operations are planned for the ground floor and the second floor will have multiple uses, including potential office space.
The University also owns the former theater building, which is slated for upgrades in the latter part of the year. Officials said more information on the renovation project for that building would be available by spring.