Wrigley neighbors: Clark project too tall

October 23, 2009

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter/fspielman@suntimes.com

Lake View community groups are lining up against a plan to construct a hotel, retail and residential complex across from Wrigley Field featuring a building so tall they fear it would set a precedent and destroy the residential character of their neighborhood.

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If M&R Development is allowed to build a project at Addison and Clark that rises to 91 feet at its tallest point, that could pave the way for future developments with buildings that high, said Amy Karatz, president of the East Lake View Neighbors Association.

“This is the pivotal development that will change the nature of the entire neighborhood. We don’t want a downtown, tall-building commercial district in the confines of a mostly residential neighborhood,” she said, after hearing M&R’s pitch this week.

Karatz noted that the “Addison Park on Clark” project is being closely watched by the Cubs, who plan their own project on a triangular parcel adjacent to Wrigley.

“We topped that out at 65 or 71 feet. One of the reasons the Cubs couldn’t build [initially] is that they couldn’t make the numbers work at that height. At 91 feet, they could make the numbers work,” she said.

Jill Peters, president of the Southport Neighbors Association, agreed, saying, “If we do it for this guy, you have to do it for everyone else. … That would turn our neighborhood into gridlock.”

Anthony Rossi, managing partner of M&R Development, noted that Peters and Karatz represent only two votes on the 22-member panel that advises Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) on zoning issues.

“It’s never gonna be unanimous. We just hope we get 12 out of 22,” Rossi said.

As for the concern about height and density, Rossi said his buildings have “varying heights,” with an average of 58 feet and the “vast majority” at 37 feet.

“I’d hardly describe it as a wall of high-rises,” he said.

After shrinking the project and lowering the height to below the Wrigley roofline, M&R filed a zoning application that includes a 137-room Hyatt hotel, 135 residential units, 147,000 square feet of retail and a 403-space underground garage.



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