Four Net-Zero High-Rises Proposed for Prime Loop Site

April 15, 2021

City unveils finalists for sustainable redevelopment of key transit node

Four mixed-use redevelopment proposals for City-owned property at Van Buren Street and Plymouth Court were unveiled by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) today as part of Chicago’s participation in the international C40 Reinventing Cities competition.

Available for review on the DPD web site in advance of a May 3 community meeting being co-hosted by DPD and Ald. Sophia King (4th), each proposed project is seeking to replace a vacant, City-owned parking garage and adjacent land totaling approximately 16,000 square feet.

The proposals are in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by DPD in 2020. The City’s pending selection of a winner is expected to be Chicago’s first net-zero carbon high-rise, a highly efficient building that operates on carbon-free renewable energy.

Due to the site’s nearby public transportation options, each project is proposing zero parking. Each is also maximizing its proximity to adjacent Pritzker Park through coordinated site planning and funding for physical improvements.

“The responses to the C40 RFP reflect a strong desire by the development community to create architecturally innovative, sustainable projects that bring affordable and workforce housing options and other public benefits to the Loop,” DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox said.

The proposals and project teams include:

Assemble Chicago
Twenty-story structure would feature 207 residential units and commercial spaces that include a food hall for small, minority-operated restaurants; non-profit office and meeting space; a produce grocer; and a medical clinic. All housing units would be priced for incomes ranging from 30 to 80 percent of the area’s median income (AMI). The approximately $102 million proposal would also commit $2 million toward Pritzker Park improvements.

The Assemble Chicago development team includes: The Community Builders, Studio Gang, DesignBridge, JAQ, dbHMS, Thornton Tomasetti, Engage Civil Engineering, Site Design Group, Applied Ecological Services, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Rush University College of Nursing, and Calibrate Coaching.

Common Good Collaborative
Twenty-one story structure would feature 305 residential units and a market hall, an artisan exchange for small businesses, and a community center offering homeless services. Twenty percent of the residential units would be rented at 60 to 80 percent AMI, 125 units would be rented at 90 to 120 percent AMI, and the remainder would be at market rates. The approximately $99.9 million proposal would also commit $2 million toward Pritzker Park improvements.

The Common Good Collaborative development team includes: Lendlease, KMA Management, KMA Property Management Services, A Safe Haven Foundation, Valerio Dewalt Train Associates and Latent Design, Site Design Group, dbHMS, Thornton Tomasetti, TERRA Engineering, Primera Civil Engineering, Lendlease Construction with BOWA Construction, Bozzuto Management Company, and Span.

Twenty-one story structure would feature 224 residential units, a café, gallery space and a medical clinic. Thirty percent of the residential units would be for artists or creatives with incomes below 60 percent AMI, about 112 units for incomes at 120 percent AMI and about 44 units for incomes at 140 percent AMI. The approximately $128.5 million proposal would also commit $1.25 million toward Pritzker Park improvements.

The ecoVIBE development team includes: DL3 Realty Advisors, City Pads, Perkins & Will, Brook Architecture, dbHMS, Site Design Group, SpaceCo, Thornton Tomasetti, Engage Civil, Stearn-Joglekar, Ujamaa, Power Construction, and Daccord.

Inspiration Exchange
Twelve-story structure would feature 81 studio units, with half of the units dedicated to permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and the other half targeted for singles and couples with incomes ranging from 30 percent to 60 percent AMI. Lower-level spaces would include a café, community meeting rooms, gallery space, a medical clinic, social services, and a free community dining and kitchen, restrooms and hygiene facilties. The approximately $42 million proposal would also commit $100,000 million toward Pritzker Park improvements.

The Inspiration Exchange development team includes Turnstone Development, Inspiration Corporation, Food For Soul, Heartland Alliance Health, MKB Architects, Mir Collective, dbHMS, Site Design Group, Thornton Tomasetti, Terra Engineering, Urban Growers Collective, Back of the Yards Coffee, Pepper Construction and BMI Construction Management, and Lightengale Group.

The public meeting to review of the four proposals will be held via Zoom from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 3.

"The C40 project represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform a long-dormant, City-owned property and the under-utilized Pritzker Park,” Ald. King said. “Using City resources, we have a chance to create a development that is eco-friendly, but also a project that supports equity in every aspect of its development. I look forward to the community engagement on this project and the change that it represents for the community."

Proposal graphics and videos are available on DPD’s C40 project web site. Also available on the site is public meeting registration information and a community survey.

The winning proposal is expected to be selected this spring. A formal review and approval process will follow, including public hearings for potential zoning changes and the sale terms for the property.

The C40 Reinventing Cities Initiative is a global competition intended to drive carbon neutral and resilient urban regeneration in major cities worldwide.

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