June 3, 2009
BY DAVID ROEDER Sun-Times Columnist
REAL ESTATE | Height cut for Clark-Addison project
Developers in Lake View have learned a lesson: If you want to build near Wrigley Field, you give the old park a little respect. Don’t build higher than the Wrigley roof.
Plans for a more than $100 million hotel, apartment and retail complex southeast of Clark and Addison have been shaved to win community and aldermanic backing. Property owner Steven Schultz and M&R Development LLC took the equivalent of a floor or two off the tallest elements in the complex. No longer would they set a new height precedent for the neighborhood with buildings that seem to crane for a glimpse of Cubs action.
M&R partner Anthony Rossi said the project can be downsized because of the decision, made with architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, to move two levels of parking underground. It increases construction costs but means a couple lower levels formerly assigned to parking can be dressed up for retailers and made more attractive from the outside. Rossi said a health club has committed to occupy some of the space.
He said Global Hyatt Corp. is interested in operating and acquiring the 137-room hotel, which would be along Clark Street. A seven-story building on Addison would contain 135 apartments, down from an earlier scheme calling for nearly 200 units. Rossi said the size of the retail space has been reduced by nearly 25 percent, to 147,000 square feet.
For now, Rossi’s priority is getting city zoning approval for the request. The approval would give the deal credibility with lenders, and he could then shift his focus to the credit markets, which remain closed to most speculative construction. “The uniqueness of the neighborhood probably will make some lenders and equity partners look at it,” Rossi said.
Lake View Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said the developers’ concessions bring the project closer to what his constituents want. He wants the developers to complete a revised traffic study.
“We still have quite a bit of work to do but they are listening more to community concerns,” Tunney said. His support would send the proposal to a city review process that could take several months.