This morning the Zoning Committee will take up the next step in the Blackhawks’ andRush University Medical Center’s plans for the old Malcolm X College campus on the city’s Near West Side. The Chicago Blackhawks hockey team is looking to build a community ice rink and training facility at the site. Rush University wants to build a new medical campus. The University will take a majority of the 11 acre site to build a 1.4 million square foot “academic village” that’ll include three academic buildings and one dormitory for 300 students.
According to University President Peter Butler, who spoke before the Plan Commission in January, student enrollment has doubled over recent years and their current facilities and technology are nearly half a century old.
While both projects got full support from the Chicago Plan Commission last month, a handful of commissioners said they were concerned that the timetable for Rush’s plans–a six-year first phase and three-to-five years in between the subsequent three phases–is a bit long. Some weren’t thrilled that a provision in the planned development wouldn’t require Rush to go back for public review should they decide to amend their proposal later. Instead, the development team would have the ability to work out any changes through an internal review by the Department of Planning and Development.
Another application, from Clark 800, LLC, seeks to an amend an existing planned development to build a 230-unit residential building at a site directly north of Bush Temple, a Chicago Landmark. That item got Plan Commission approval in January as well.
Fulton Market Rezone
Sterling Bay’s application to rezone a section of Fulton Market where a partially completed office building currently stands will also be reviewed today. The project stalled after the dot-com bust in the late nineties, when developers were unable to finance the full project. The site and the adjacent 170-car parking garage to the north have been vacant ever since.
Calling the project a “catalyst” for the neighborhood at the December Plan Commission meeting, representatives from Sterling Bay sought a rezone to expand the existing skeleton, transforming it into an eight-story building with office and commercial space. The bottom five floors will conform with the height and design of the surrounding brick buildings, while the top three floors will have an extensive setback, with a glass and aluminum facade. The parking garage will be expanded to hold approximately 610 parking spaces to serve the entire Fulton Market community. At the December meeting, Ald. Walter Burnett (27) said the burgeoning Fulton Market is facing a parking shortage.
Also on tap: Vequity’s plan to build a seven-story residential building at a busy intersection on the corner of Milwaukee and Western Avenue next to the Western Avenue blue line stop. According to Kyle Glascott, one of the members on Vequity’s development team, most of the units will be roughly 600-square-foot one-bedroom units. Their target audience is “young professionals” and they’re hoping to lease out the ground floor commercial space to a “transit oriented” retail operator, like a cafe or bike repair shop, he told the Plan Commission last month.
This application got a lot of pushback from commissioners because no affordable units are planned on site. Ald. Joe Moreno (1) was particularly peeved about this project and accused neighboring Ald. Scott Waguespack (32) of failing to do his job in ensuring affordable units. This project did not get unanimous Plan Commission support.
Vequity’s application is not nearly as controversial as the proposed residential development for the former Maryville/Cuneo Hospital site in Uptown. JDL Development is looking to build a massive, 860-unit housing complex with 50,000 square feet of retail and commercial space at an expected price tag of $125 million. At issue: TIF money is being offered for the project and local residents are crying foul. Dozens of local residents testified against the project at the January Plan Commission meeting and it failed to win unanimous support from commissioners.
Industrial Party Liquor License
Zoning Chairman Danny Solis (25) will finally bring up an ordinance he introduced over the summer creating a new liquor license for industrial parties. It’s unclear why Solis has been holding on to the ordinance for so long, but a staff assistant said it will move forward unamended. The ordinance would eliminate Class A and B licenses and create a new license with a fee structure based on the number of attendees, starting at $700 for an event with at least 350 attendees and capped at $4,000 for an event with 4,000 attendees.
With the new license, hosts could serve liquor for up to three days at a maximum of six locations between 4:00 p.m. and midnight on weekdays, 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Saturdays, and 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Sundays. Events held at places of worship or schools would be exempt. To apply for the license, a vendor must submit certification of insurance of at least $300,000 per incident, a description of the event, a site plan, and other routine information (time, location, place, etc.). A 35 to 90 day review process is required under the ordinance.
Solis’ ordinance also provides local control: the city must notify the local alderman and all property owners within 500 feet within 5 days of receiving a license application. All parties have 35 days from when the license fee is paid to file an objection. Violators could face penalties of up to $10,000.