To the Editor:
On behalf of all of my colleagues at Mesa Development, a family-owned, Chicago-based real estate firm committed to smart development, sustainability and responsible corporate citizenship, I would like to thank the many Hyde Park residents and businesses who have expressed support for our proposed development on 1330 E. 53rd St. I would also like to make sure that the residents of Hyde Park have the opportunity to understand the facts about the project, as a number of misstatements have been recently circulated within the community.
Parking and Traffic Generation — Our location provides superior proximity to public transit — the Metra station, multiple CTA bus stops and University of Chicago shuttle stops located within a half-mile from the site provide more transit options than most locations in Hyde Park or any neighborhood in Chicago. Despite this, the building will provide 218 internal parking spaces, exceeding both the parking ratios required by the City of Chicago and those in comparable developments across Chicago.
Big Box Retail — We are not seeking to place a big box retailer in the community. The retail space within this building will not be big enough to accommodate big box retail, but more importantly, our intention is to create a mix of local and national merchants that will offer goods and services to the community which are currently not available. We have participated in numerous visioning sessions, meetings and discussions in the neighborhood, and are familiar with the frustration of residents who have to drive out of the neighborhood in order to satisfy basic shopping needs. It is our goal to contribute to the vitality of 53rd Street and the creation of a pedestrian friendly shopping district by providing the kinds of local and unique retailers that we have brought to other projects in Chicago.
Community Benefits — We take very seriously our responsibility to the community in which we develop property, and our project will provide direct benefits to the community. We are committed to exceeding city requirements for the participation of minority and woman-owned business enterprises in the project, the inclusion of affordable housing in the project, and sustainability features in the building. And we are not seeking any public subsidy to build the project — to the contrary, we estimate that our project will generate over $7.7 million of funds for the reinvestment in the community through the 53rd Street TIF Committee.
Mesa Development is proud of our Chicago roots and very excited to have the opportunity to develop a world-class building in Hyde Park. We are grateful for all of the support we have received from so many of our neighbors, and look forward to continuing to work with the community to achieve a great outcome for all of Hyde Park.
James M. Hanson
Mesa Development, LLC