Last night, a plan to bring a new 12-story, 10-unit luxury condominium building to the former site of the Astrolab film processing facility at 61 W. Erie was publicly presented at a meeting hosted by Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) and the River North Residents association. Developed by LG and designed by NORR Architects, the proposed building features 11 ground floor parking spaces, a two-story penthouse unit, and a modern facade consisting of glass and raw architectural concrete.
Though a prior developer was pursuing a ten-story, HPA-designed project for the site essentially as-of-right, LG’s slightly taller proposal is going the Planned Development (PD) route and will therefore require approval by the city of Chicago. While the current plan works within the parcel’s underlying DX-5 zoning, the sale of air rights from an existing 19th-century three-flat located at 57 W. Erie will see 2.0 points of additional floor area ratio (FAR) transferred to the new building.
The development team will not be taking advantage of Chicago’s new Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus program to achieve additional density and the vintage structure at 57 W. Erie will be preserved under the plan. The Planned Development process also allowed the city to negotiate additional public benefits like new streetscape planters, widened rear and side alleyways, and the building’s 4,800-square-foot green roof.
"Yes this is a PD," commented Alderman Brendan Reilly regarding the project’s relatively diminutive stature, "but it’s probably the smallest PD in the world." While the city councilman withheld any endorsement of the plan, he touched on the low intensity nature of the 61 W. Erie proposal. "It’s not a hotel creating a lot of traffic. It’s not a 300-unit apartment building full of transient renters. It’s ten condos."
Despite its modest size, a handful of neighbors living on intermediate floors in the nearby 19-story building at 60 W. Erie expressed their desire to see the 12-story project revert to the 10-story height of the earlier proposal to preserve their views. According to the development team, it is the project’s increased height that makes it economically feasible in a spot where the previous plan failed. "If we stopped projects based on blocking views, the first building built in Chicago would have been the last," said Brian Goldberg, partner with LG Development.
Provided approvals move quickly, Goldberg said he anticipates delivery in late fall of 2017 following roughly a year of construction. While the developer wasn’t quite prepared to make a firm comment on pricing, the 2,700-square-foot units in the luxury building will easily exceed $1 million given their size and Chicago’s currently starved supply of new condominiums. The 61 W. Erie development is expected to contribute more than $400,000 in tax revenue to the city of Chicago each year.
Source: Chicago Curbed