Illinois Medical District (IMD) Gateway Development Update

Alderman Jason Ervin hosted a community meeting last night at Chicago Hope Academy on the Illinois Medical District’s Gateway Development project for a roughly 10 acre site at Harrison St. and Damen and Ogden Avenues. The master development team and co-partners of Jack Higgins of Higgins Development Partners, developer of the FBI Chicago Division Headquarters in the Illinois Medical District (IMD), Elzie Higginbottom of Eastlake Management and Development, Isiah Thomas’s brother, representing Isiah Thomas Real Estate, and Tom Samuels of Thomas Samuels Enterprises, presented plans for a mixed-use development consisting of much-needed high quality young professional and multifamily residential housing, life sciences laboratory and professional commercial office space, a hotel and mixed-use retail, structured parking and public plaza/park space. Harrison Street Real Estate Capital is the capital partner in the development.

The projected square footage of each use is as follows: 75 to 100 thousand sq. ft. of mixed-use retail; 150 to 175 thousand sq. ft. of hospitality space with a projected 200 to 250 keys for hotel rooms; 180 to 210 thousand sq. ft., or 200 to 250 units of housing for young professionals; 190 to 210 thousand sq. ft., or 200 units of multifamily housing; 100 to 120 thousand sq. ft. of privately-owned Class A life sciences lab space similar in nature and use to what is presently in the Chicago Technology Park in the IMD, but designed to meet current needs; 200 to 225 thousand sq. ft. of professional commercial Class A medical services office space; 225 to 275 thousand sq. ft. of structured parking; and 100 to 120 thousand sq. ft. of park and public plaza space.

There were many good questions from the audience of residents of Tri Taylor. A new organization, called the Tri Taylor Association, with which C4C has worked to advise in their formation and also to subsequently engage–not only in IMD development matters, but also the Roosevelt Square master planning process, since the same planning team headed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) will be completing the Roosevelt Square master plan and the new IMD land use plan this June–has put together a very sophisticated engagement of the development team. The Tri Taylor Association effort is being lead by a  retail and commercial real estate professional who is also an attorney and, with his wife and family, are long-time residents of the Tri Taylor community.

The most salient issues raised at the meeting were as follows: How will issues of affordable housing be addressed? What type of retail will be leased? How will parking and service of the facilities be managed and staged to have minimal impact on the community?

Alderman Ervin intends to transfer the affordable housing allotment for the project to Garfield Park to help spur much needed revitalization of that community in his ward. The development team also made it clear that preference for hiring during the development phase and where appropriate for staffing of various aspects of the project, when complete, will be for local residents. The retail and housing components will be market rate, high quality amenities; the team is trying to create a somewhat self-contained development, but one that is very sensitive to the community context. Alderman Ervin committed to making sure that existing and future issues with street parking in the area are addressed through appropriate zoning and enforcement of street parking, and the service points, and structured parking entrances and exits are all designed to flow from Harrison to west of the cul-de-sac at Polk St. and Ogden Ave. through the center of the development site. This is a good plan and the development team and Alderman Ervin are very committed to working with the community to make this development, which poses considerable risk for the development and capital partners team, as successful as possible and the team has already made significant changes based upon feedback they have received from the community.