Proposed Near West Condo Project Has Residents Feeling Like They Got Hit By the Ol’ Switcheroo

Drawing of the proposed 200 South Green building

Drawing of the proposed 200 South Green building

Alderman Danny Solis (25th Ward) hosted his first Near West Side community meeting last night at the Merit School of Music and he heard firsthand how protective the neighborhood’s residents are about green space, parking and density.

The subject of the gathering was a proposed residential building at 200 South Green Street between Jackson and Adams, on what is now a surface parking lot on the western border of Greektown.

Alderman Danny Solis at 200 South Green presentation

Alderman Danny Solis (25th Ward)

The community meeting notice said the project would be a six-story, 40-unit development. But the specs outlined by architect Ron Vari, Jr., of R. Vari And Associates, and John A. Fritchey of F4 Consulting, was a larger, and denser project — nine stories and 60 units. The difference between the two designs drew criticism from many of the 40 residents in attendance, who questioned whether even the current design could be trusted.

Fritchey explained that the project was a work in progress and the increase in scope and size was made just 10 days earlier, after the meeting notice had already been sent out. He also said feedback from neighborhood groups like the West Loop Community Organization, was taken into consideration. To residents who expressed skepticism about the change, Fritchey offered a commitment to provide a restrictive covenant to verify F4 and its partners would deliver what they proposed.

John Fritchey, F4 Consulting

John Fritchey, F4 Consulting

Fritchey added that F4 was in no hurry to begin, saying that it’s more interested in doing the project the right way. The April 29th meeting was a preliminary one, he said, held to take the temperature of area residents. Several of those residents questioned the lack of green space, the impact on limited parking in the area and the potential strain on the already overcrowded Skinner West Elementary School.

Parking was one of the key areas in the redesign from the first plan, Fritchey said. Originally, the plan called for 40 parking spaces. The new design provides 200 parking spaces contained within the first three floors. Half of those would be reserved for residents.

Neighbors who voiced support at last night’s meeting said they welcomed the type of housing planned: large condominiums. The proposed units are nearly 1,800 square feet in size. Prices begin around $600,000.

Ron Vari Jr, Ron Vari And Associates Architects

Ron Vari Jr, Ron Vari And Associates Architects

“There aren’t a lot of three and four-bedroom units around here, and in River North, they’re practically nonexistent,” said Alderman Solis.

The next steps for the development, after another community meeting, will be a zoning variance request, from the current DS-3 to DX-7. If approval is granted, the construction could take up to three years to complete.

Bill Motchan

Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at bill@ChicagoArchitecture.org.

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9 Comments

  1. This is the city! Build it…Chicago needs the population and density.

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  2. Bill,

    How can I find out when there is a notice for these meetings? I want to attend future meetings so I can shut these NIMBY’s up and tell them they live next to the second largest business district in the country.

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  3. Hi, Mike. I’m on the distro list for community meetings and events in the West Loop, as a resident/member of the West Loop Community Organization (westloop.org), which is open to any resident or business. Membership for an individual is $35/year. Additionally, the Aldermen representing the West Loop (Danny Solis and Walter Burnett, Jr.) generally attend, so you could contact their offices to learn of upcoming meetings.

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    • So Mike wants info so he can better represent the neighborhood that is usually out-shouted by the typical NIMBY whiners, and you have the gall to suggest a membership to WLCO?

      That’s nuts. WLCO is the worst of the worst in this city when it comes to NIMBY groups.

      Mike, do yourself a favor and contact the alderman directly, and try to ignore any further BS that comes from Bill.

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  4. Great to see a developer finally answer the markets need for larger (3 or 4 bed) units.

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  5. Bill Motchan

    There’s no firm start date. The developers must first complete final design, gain acceptance from the community, then apply for the zoning change.

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  6. Who wants to pay 600,000$ to live across from the 24-hour gyros party spots on Jackson?? Not to mention the 5am bar on Halsted.

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