The new developers working on the controversial Ravenswood Station project have tabled previously announced plans to include an 11-story condominium tower. During last night’s community meeting at McPherson Elementary School, Lincoln Square Ald. Eugene Schulter (47th) said he asked the site’s new developer, Magellan Development Group LLC, to hold off on plans for the residential portion of the project after community residents last year expressed concerns about the effect the condos would have on an already abysmal real-estate market.
“As far as I’m concerned, there is no residential component,” Schulter told residents.
The proposed 140,000-square-foot project would be built in the Sears parking lot near the corner of Lawrence and Ravenswood avenues, and it calls for a 50-foot-tall parking garage and a three-story commercial building. Retailers for the project include a Sears Auto Center, a health center that has yet to be determined, and a Mariano’s Fresh Market, which is owned by Roundy’s Supermarket Inc. Schulter told residents that projects like Ravenswood Station rarely take off thanks to these dire economic times.
“This is the only commercial project of its kind in the entire city of Chicago,” he said. “That goes to tell you the condition that our country is in.”
The development also calls for the creation of a new two-lane street called Ravenswood Station Drive, which would run parallel to the Metra tracks and only be accessible through Lawrence Avenue. Members of the Ravenswood Station development team said they were still working with the Chicago Department of Transportation to iron out details on how to control the flow of traffic coming in and out of Ravenswood Station Drive.
Pat Thompson, who’s with the law firm DLA Piper and is the lead attorney for the development, said the commercial end of the project is estimated to create nearly 300 full-time jobs and 150 part-time jobs.
Loewenberg Architects has also been brought on as the new architects for the proposed project. Todd Wendell is a project manager with the group. He told residents that he’s aiming to achieve LEED certification for the development, which will include a green rooftop. Wendell also said he hopes a café with outdoor seating along Lawrence will be included with the projects final designs. Wendell also said that 180 spots in the parking garage will be reserved for Metra parking.
Both Loewenberg Architects and Magellan Development Group LLC worked on the Lakeshore East, a massive mixed residential and commercial development located north of East Randolph Street. Brian Gordon, who is the vice president of Magellan, said his development company is working on a similar project located in Lakeshore East. Wilmette-based Crossroads Development Partners was formerly attached to the Ravenswood Station project.
Schulter said residents will get to vote on the proposed project during a meeting scheduled for May 27. If the plan gets the thumbs up from residents, then it’ll be sent to the Chicago Plan Commission. Once the commission signs off on the plan, then it’ll go to the City Council. Depending on when the City Council approves the planned development, the project could take 18 months to build. Schulter said the development would receive tax increment finance district money, but he did not have final cost estimates last night. He also said images of the proposed development will be up on his website sometime this week.