Applications to convert a vacant elementary school in Uptown into apartments and a plan to add four more stories to the new Nobu Hotel in Fulton Market are on tap for the city’s Plan Commission today, as well as a new townhome development for the Galewood neighborhood on the city’s West Side.

Developer Morningside Equities Group is behind a plan to rehabilitate and convert the five-story Graeme Stewart Elementary School into a 64-unit residential building with 100 off-street parking spots. Located at 4525 North Kenmore Ave., the school is in Ald. James Cappleman’s 46th Ward. The school was one of 50 Chicago Public Schools closed in 2013. Built in 1906, the school was recently proposed as a Chicago landmark.

Morningside’s David M. Strosberg and Mary Ellen Martin are seeking to establish a planned development, because the unit count exceeds the threshold allowed in an RT-4 district. Morningside bought the school in January 2016.

The developer behind a Nobu Hotel in Fulton Market will return back to the Plan Commission to amend their existing planned development, first approved by the land-use body and subsequently the City Council in June 2015. The hotel is currently under construction. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Walter Burnett (27) attended a groundbreaking ceremony on June 20, 2016. Two days later, at the June monthly City Council meeting, Mark Hunt filed an application for an amended PD to add four stories to the building for a total of 11-stories.

The Nobu Hospitality Group, started by famed Japanese Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, operates hotels and restaurants across the country, all located in refurbished buildings. Chicago’s is the only one that’s new construction.

In June of 2015, commissioners approved a scaled down redesign for a proposed Nobu Hotel and restaurant for a vacant lot in the West Loop. The original plan called for 155 hotel rooms, 65 parking spaces and a 10,000 square foot restaurant. The truncated size of the building was due not to concerns by local residents, but rather from concerns raised by Ald. Burnett and the city’s Department of Planning and Development. Ald. Burnett testified that he and the city were concerned a taller building would go against the character of the neighborhood, which at the time was being considered for landmark status.

The project, as approved by the Plan Commission last year, was seven stories with 83 hotel rooms and 35 off-site parking spots. Plans also included an amenity level, rooftop penthouse, and outdoor seating for the restaurant. Since the project qualifies as Transit Oriented Development–the new Morgan St. CTA station is within 600 ft. of the site–developers weren’t required to build on-site parking, but purchased a building on Mason and Randolph St. as a backup lot, according to the developer’s legal counsel, Rolando Acosta, with law firm Ginsberg Jacobs.

At that June meeting, Zoning Administrator Patti Scudiero said she never thought the day would come when the project would finally reach the Plan Commission. When the project first reached her desk in 2012, Scudiero recalled, developers had requested that the site be rezoned as a Downtown district, which would have removed height restrictions. She said it was a big ask, especially as the Department was developing the Fulton Market Innovation District Plan. She thanked the applicant for being “more than patient with the City.”

And rarely is there an application for a large scale housing development outside the city’s central business district or north side, but today the Plan Commission will consider a zoning application from Mia Property Acquisitions (NOAH Properties) to build 14 three-story homes, for a total of 84-units in the city’s Glenwood neighborhood. The housing development is planned for a large vacant lot that spans the 2100 block of North Natchez, next to Roberto Clemente School. The project triggers the city’s affordable housing requirements (ARO), but the zoning application doesn’t detail if the developer is paying the in-lieu fee or providing on-site affordable units.  

Other Map Amendment/Planned Development Applications on the Plan Commission Agenda:

  • 57-61 W. Erie Street (42nd) – LG Development Group (Brian Goldberg, Barry Howard, Marc Lifshin) are seeking to establish a planned development to build a 12-story, 10-unit condo-building with a ground floor lobby and 10 parking spaces. The project is divided into two sub-areas. The new construction will be located in Sub-Area A; Sub-Area B is currently a four-story residential building with no changes proposed. The city’s ARO is triggered, and requires one affordable unit or an in-lieu fee.
  • 46 East Oak Street. (42nd Ward) – Since this is a Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Application, there’s no corresponding ordinance for this development plan. Plans call for a four-story commercial retail building with office space. According to the Plan Commission agenda, the developer is “STRS L3 ACQ4, LLC” (Thor Equities, according to Crain’s Chicago.)
  • 1760 W. Wrightwood Avenue (32nd Ward) This is another application to amend an existing planned development first approved in 2001. Hartland Park Master Homeowners Association wants to amend PD # 797 “to allow the applicant to retain as private all streets within the Planned Development and allow the applicant to continue to be responsible for and regulate the streets” according to the letter filed by their attorney, Thomas S. Moore.