Vue53 developer gives update

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

Jim Hansen, principal at Mesa Development, declined to comment on a lawsuit filed by four Hyde Parkers to stop construction of the 13-story tower Vue 53. Mesa Development was not named as a party on the lawsuit.

“I think this is America. We have a process to adjudicate these things and the courts, it will work its way through the courts. From my perspective it doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm for the project. It doesn’t alter our timeline or what we’re doing right now. We’re going to continue moving forward,” Hansen said.

Four Hyde Park residents — Michael Scott, James Des Jardins, Mark Graham and Lorraine Pettigrew — filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago last month, arguing that the zoning change was “arbitrary and capricious.”

Residents object to Mesa’s plan to construct a 155-foot building on the lot, arguing that the height is out of scale with the surrounding neighborhood and could set a precedent allowing larger buildings on that stretch of 53rd Street.

In related news, the storage tanks under the former Mobil Station came out cleanly, in one piece, and without any leaks said Hansen, at the 53rd Street TIF Council meeting Monday, Sept. 30.

Following their removal, 25 tests pits were done and soil samples tested for contamination. All came back clean, he said.

“There was the odor of petroleum products in the hole [after the tanks were removed] so we went ahead and took 25 soil tests kits, around where the tanks were and at the bottom, where the tanks came out. The tests … all those tests came back clean so the site is clean,” Hansen said. The excavated portion has been refilled with gravel.

The buildings above ground, including the gas station, car wash and graffiti wall, will be demolished in December or January.

Hansen said Mesa will begin seeking permits for construction soon and expects to begin building in March of 2014.

Construction workers will be required to not park their vehicles on public, city streets and instead park in private parking lots, he said.

“If people are parking on city streets there are going to be real ramifications,” Hansen said. “We heard your concerns. … If you see people parking in front of your house or in your neighborhood call the alderman’s office, call McHugh Construction, call me.”

Mid America Real Estate has been retained to seek out tenants for the retail spaces but no stores have been secured yet.

l.welbers@hpherald.com