The Chicago Plan Commission meets Wednesday morning to consider proposals for three West Loop projects, including a 200-room Hyatt Hotel from Sterling Bay, and the return of a pair of 15-story residential towers designed by bKL Architects dubbed Union West. The Wednesday meeting is rare. The land use-body regularly meets once a month, almost always on Thursdays.

Commissioners are also scheduled to give preliminary approval of a key land sale that’s part of the city’s ongoing efforts to reform and modernize its police department.  

PDF: DPD Staff Report for Land Acquisition of 4301 W. Chicago Ave.

The city intends to acquire property at 4301 W. Chicago Ave. in West Garfield Park for the construction of a new Public Safety Academy for police and fire recruits. Both Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Police Accountability Task Force and the Department of Justice gave scathing reviews of the Chicago Police Department’s outdated training facilities and curriculum.

One paragraph of the DOJ’s 161-page Findings Report following its 13-month investigation into the Chicago Police Department best illustrates their structural concerns:

“One of CPD’s scenario training buildings, which houses the Training and Tactics Unit, is dangerous, both because of the dilapidated, inadequate facility, and the lack of adequate safety protocols. When we visited, this facility did not have locked main doors. The armory room—a former school office—was unlocked with loaded guns left in open, unlocked cubbies in a room left unattended. Training guns and ammunition were stored close to guns loaded with live rounds. The close proximity of these materials, without adequate controls or labels, created a serious risk that the real guns would be mistaken for training ones, or that the guns and ammunition could go missing or be stolen.” (page 104)

The city plans to redevelop the 30-acre site with two buildings. One would house classrooms, labs, simulators, conference rooms, an auditorium and offices. The other would serve as a shooting range and space for “active scenario training and a dive training pool.” Outdoor amenities include a driving course, skid pad, and additional space for active scenario training.

BK Chicago, LLC, a subsidiary of real estate firm Colliers International, and Chia LLC, a subsidiary of Northern Builders, owns the parcel located in Planned Manufacturing District 9. Revenue from the sale of the former Department of Fleet and Facilities Management headquarters in North Branch are expected to cover part of the acquisition costs.

According to this DPD staff report, the parcel is valued at $13.4 million ($10.13 a square foot) but the city has put in a request for a reduced price of $9.6 million ($7.36 a square foot).

The item slated for Plan Commission approval is a preliminary step. The official ordinance is scheduled to be introduced to the City Council in October with closing slated within the first quarter of 2018.

Wednesday’s agenda includes nine large scale zoning applications, including another transit oriented development (TOD) for Uptown, a 19-story apartment building planned for the Illinois Medical District, and an affordable senior living facility in Ravenswood.

Agenda Highlights

“Union West” Twin 15-Story M/U (O2017-2162

933-43 W. Washington St. (25th Ward)

Known as “Union West”, this project from Haymarket Apartments Joint Venture, LP calls for a pair of 15-story residential towers with up to 358 units for the city’s West Loop neighborhood. Designed by bKL, and to be developed by a joint venture of ZOM Mid-Atlantic and Verde Communities, the project has been in the works for more than a year.

It requests a rezone of the site bounded by West Washington, North Morgan, West Madison, and North Sangamon Streets from a downtown mixed-use district, DX-3, to a DX-5. The development team is taking advantage of the density bonus system for an addition FAR of 1.5, though the payment amount isn’t listed in the application.

The property, a surface parking lot, is owned by McDermott Center, doing business as the Haymarket Center, an addiction treatment center located across the street from the proposed development.

This latest version, according to DNAinfo, has been scaled back to address neighborhood complaints that the original plan was too tall. That proposal, according to Neighbors of the West Loop, called for more than 400 units split among three buildings.  


GRE Medical District City Apartments (02017-3852)

801-939 S. Ashland Ave. and 1532-54 W. Taylor St. (28th Ward)

A 19-story, mixed-use tower with 254 residential units and 28,000 sq ft of ground floor commercial space is planned for the GRE Medical District. GRE Medical District City Apartments, LLC, a joint venture of Focus Development, Atlantic Realty Partners, and Guggenheim Partners are requesting city approval to amend an existing planned development that includes a two-story parking structure. The project triggers the city’s affordable housing requirements, 10% of total units, or 25 units.  Six of those (25% of 25) are required. The developer has the option to pay an in-lieu fee of $125,000 for the 19 remaining units.

Hyatt Hotel For West Loop (O2017-3196)

113 N. May St. (27th Ward)

A scaled down version of their original plan, this application from Sterling Bay would support a new 200-room Hyatt Hotel for the West Loop near McDonald’s new headquarters. Now down to 16 stories (from 19), the building designed by Eckenhoff Saunders Architects includes ground floor retail and space for 41 accessory parking spots. The planned development application requests a rezone from a DX-3 to a DX-5 and incorporates a neighboring two-story building to be renovated for a new Chicago Public Library branch.


Clayco’s 150-unit Residential Building for Uptown (O2017-2156)

943-57 W. Wilson Ave. and 4545-57 N. Sheridan Rd. (46th Ward)

This proposal from Clayco calls for a 12-story, 150-unit residential building with ground floor retail that’d replace an existing vacant commercial property at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Sheridan Road. The project triggers the city’s affordable housing requirements (ARO) with the option to provide 15 affordable units (10% of 150) or pay an in-lieu fee of $125,000 per unit not added. Of the 15 ARO units, four are required (25% of 150).

The renderings are designed by Forum Studio, Inc. CRG Acquisition, a Missouri limited liability company, filed the application. Their supplemental economic disclosure statement lists Clayco Chief Executive Officer Robert Clark as one of the owners. A Miami-based real estate firm owns the property.

Local Ald. James Cappleman’s (46) zoning committee voted in favor of the plan in March after it and the Department of Planning and Development requested modifications, according to DNAinfo.

Ravenswood Senior Living Facility (O2017-3857)

4501 N. Winchester Ave. (47th Ward)

An existing seven-acre planned development in Ravenswood would be amended to convert the former  Ravenswood Hospital building into affordable housing for seniors.

The former Ravenswood Hospital Specialty Care Pavilion, a nine-story structure, is incorporated in Planned Development No. 9, a seven acre site. It’s divided into five sub-areas, each with different owners, including Lycée Francais de Chicago. Constructed in 1974, the building has remained vacant since the medical facility closed in 2002.

The applicant, Ravenswood Senior Living, LP, Synergy Partners & Evergreen Real Estate, filed an application in May to expand and convert an existing eight-story medical building into an Independent Senior and Supportive Living Facility with 194 units: 74- independent living units reserved for seniors,120-units for supportive living. The site plans provided by Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects show dwelling units ranging from 340-square-feet to 768. “The newly converted building will also contain ancillary offices, common areas, a cafeteria (with kitchen), and other residential amenity rooms,” the application states. (Floor Plans; Renderings/Site Plan/Sustainable Features)