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Big and Bold, but Welcome? New Lakeview Development Creates Mixed Reactions

Submitted on Thu, 05/15/2008 – 19:31.

Lakeview residents and business owners are skeptical of a proposed multimillion-dollar development to include hotel rooms, rental apartments and stores near the busy intersection of Clark and Addison streets.

The project calls for two nine-story buildings. A 137-room Hyatt hotel will face Clark Street and an apartment building with 150 one-bedroom apartments will sit at the corner of Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue. Retail space for new and existing businesses in the area and a health club are other amenities included in the design plan according to the 44th Ward Web site.

Alderman Tom Tunney (44th) thinks the proposed buildings are too tall and is waiting for the developer, M&R Development, to revise the plans within what zoning has allowed, said Bennett Lawson, Tunney’s deputy alderman. Original plans called for the height of the building to be 105 feet tall, however zoning only allows a maximum height of 65 feet.

Lawson said a development this large has not attempted to come into the area before.

“This is a very unique situation,” said Bennett. “I don’t know if we will ever see a situation like this again.”

The development is being dubbed a “planned development” giving the community a larger voice in the outcome. The project plans have been sent back to the developer after residents voiced their concerns about increased traffic, the building being too high and neighborhood businesses being forced to close, said Maureen Martino, executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.

Results from an online survey, conducted by the Lakeview Citizen’s Council, show that 53 percent of the 970 participants oppose the development.

Rob Nash, spokesman for M&R Development, downplayed the results from the survey saying they were typical when change or a new project is proposed in the North Side neighborhood.

I.O., a well-known comedy theatre just yards away from the proposed development, is one of the businesses that would be most affected if the development were built. The theatre might be temporarily moved behind Goose Island Beer Company, therefore losing the attention it now receives from being directly on Clark Street, said Charna Halpern, artistic director and founder of I.O.

Halpern said she supported the new development as long as she can keep her theatre space on Clark Street when construction is done.

The development plans are in the refining process and M&R Development has no scheduled dates for the start or finish of the project, said Nash, who has been out talking to neighborhood organizations to get their reactions. He added that traffic studies are also being conducted to address the major concern among area residents.

According to Lawson, as of now, the estimated cost of the development is $30 million.

City Life North Side Planning & Development Public
development lakeview citizens council tom tunney

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