Construction crews will officially break ground Thursday on a massive retail and housing development on North Halsted in Boystown, but some neighbors still aren’t happy the 15-story building was approved.
Sitting at 3740 N. Halsted St. near the intersection with North Broadway, the new building by JDL Development Corp. will feature nearly 11,000-square-feet of retail space, 269 apartments and 276 parking spaces. Combined with a third-floor rooftop with a landscaped park, dog run, outdoor pool, fire-pit and hot tub, the massive glass structure is welcomed by 46th ward officials.
However, some Lake View residents and business owners aren’t happy about the building’s construction. Between the new high-rise blocking existing views and drastically increasing traffic in the neighborhood, business owners like Jim Ludwig of Roscoe’s Tavern says more research should have been done about what a building this size will do to Lake View.
"This process was broken from the start, when so much of the information was being carefully managed and many half-truths were allowed to go unchecked,” Ludwig told the Windy City Times. “Northalsted has simply pleaded with the alderman to respect the current deliberate zoning and were disappointed when he refused.
"With all the research we had done with our ward’s master plan, a big-box store and a parking garage did not seem to fit in there."
"Our letter asked him to refer the proposal back for constructive negotiations before rushing it downtown to the city Planning Commission and we've been disappointed that he has refused to take this approach for a better outcome. We need to step back and look more closely at the impact of this proposed structure.”
Agitated neighbors created a grassroots organization named Halsted Neighbors to fight the building’s construction, and an online petition was even created in hopes of crushing the plan. It now sits closed with almost 450 signatures.
But according to Ald. James Cappleman’s (46th) office, the high-rise building is a better development than the alternative. Special Projects Manager Abby Sullivan said after months of meetings and constant changes to plans, JDL just had to finally move forward.
“The developers own the property, and they wanted to do everything they could to maximize their bottom line,” Sullivan said. “The options they were looking at were to build one big-box store with a garage, or this development. With all the research we had done with our ward’s master plan, a big-box store and a parking garage did not seem to fit in there. And it ended up to be what most of the neighbors thought, too.”
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Cappleman created a zoning and development committee of approximately 30 people representing area neighborhood organizations and businesses, and after several meetings, the group approved the structure’s design. The building permits were then just approved by the City of Chicago.
Apartments in the building will feature “huge closets,” 9-foot ceilings, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, according to a statement by the developer.
Construction at the site is expected to take two years, and although some residents are less than thrilled about the project, Sullivan says others think it will be a great addition to Lake View.
“They’re a responsible developer,” Sullivan said. “We’ve seen their other developments and they’ve been great. The community really likes the way their developments have been, so we were really confident that they’d come up with something good. And honestly, a lot of residents really liked the design and what they were doing.”