New apartments, townhomes, museum, and library proposed for Chicago’s Little Italy

08 June 2017

Author: Jay Koziarz, Curbed Chicago

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Developers are looking to make big investments in the Near West Side neighborhood

While the West Loop continues to heat up, some of the energy is migrating south over the Eisenhower Expressway to Chicago’s University Village/Little Italy neighborhood. With its proximity to downtown and the Illinois Medical District, transit options, and an established commercial corridor on Taylor Street, developers are taking notice. At a meeting last night, several upcoming developments were shown to residents—many of which were surprisingly eager to see their neighborhood’s vacant and underutilized land revitalized.

SCIO at Medical District

Built in the 1970’s and previously known as the Medical District Apartments, the twin towers along Ashland Avenue between Taylor and Polk are in the midst of a major, multi-phase renovation and expansion. A joint venture comprising of Guggenheim Partners, Atlantic Realty Partners, and Focus Development have rebranded the complex as ‘SCIO’ and have already rehabbed about 25 percent of the property’s existing 410 rental units with new finishes. A new 9,000 square foot amenity pavilion is also part of the project’s first phase.

SCIO’s next phase would see the construction of the neighborhood’s first class-A, investor-grade apartment tower. Slated to replace the site’s two-story parking deck at the corner of Ashland and Taylor, the glass 19-story addition comes from Chicago’s bKL Architecture. It would contain 253 apartments and 28,000 square feet of commercial retail space that could potentially attract a much-needed grocery store as a future tenant. A new parking garage would set aside 23 spaces for retail, 134 spaces for residents in the existing apartment building, and 88 for the new tower.

The tower will serve as a sort of visual anchor for Taylor street where it transitions from institutional to mixed-use commercial. Meanwhile, an identical two-story garage that currently occupies the north corner of the parcel is expected to be the site of SCIO’s third phase. According to Focus Development’s Christine Kolb, the final design and programming for this parcel is being worked out at this time. The development team is still seeking zoning entitlements for the project’s high-rise phases and could host one additional meeting in the future.

Read the rest of the article on Curbed.

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