By ALLISON MATYUS
At a community meeting last night, Dec. 20, MAC Property Management proposed a residential development to be built in Hyde Park at the northwest corner of 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue.
The building, which MAC referred to as 1600 E. 53rd, would house 250 apartment units over 27 stories. It would be built on what is currently a 16,744 square foot parking lot that holds 78 reserved parking spaces.
Retail space would take up the first floor of the building (approximately 10,000 square feet), which Eli Ungar, the founder of Antheus Capital and its affiliate, MAC Properties, said would be a continuation of the bustling 53rd Street on the other side of the Metra tracks.
“The activation of that space in the ground level is one of the most important aspects,” he said at the meeting, held at East Hyde Park Tower, 5242 S. Hyde Park Blvd.
Above the retail space would be a four-story parking garage with 160 spaces, both for residents of the building and for retail guest parking. The entrance to that parking garage would be on Cornell Avenue.
Residents of the new building have the option of a studio unit, or a one or two bedroom apartment. An entire floor will be devoted to amenities, including a sun deck, pool, hot tub, fitness room and other open spaces for residents.
Ungar said that one of the ideas for this development was to attract current Hyde Parkers who may no longer want to keep up the hassle of owning a house.
“This is a great location for people who want to stay in Hyde Park and in the community,” he said.
My-Nga Lam, an associate at Solomon Cordwell Buenz and the architect of the project, said that they were inspired by other buildings in the area for the exterior of 1600 E. 53rd.
“We wanted to create a rich collaboration of the unique architectural styles that make up Hyde Park,” she said.
Lam said buildings like the Del Prado, 5307 S. Hyde Park Blvd., and the Rapp and Rapp-designed building, 5490 S. Shore Dr, inspired them.
There were about 35 community members in attendance at Tuesday night’s meeting. Some of them asked questions about affordable housing and the fate of the vacant six-flat that sits directly north of the East Hyde Park Tower.
Ungar said that the zoning area the property sits on does not require affordable housing, but that they would engage in possible options.
“We are still very much in the conceptual stages [of the project],” Ungar said.
The proposal also included two other MAC properties: the building that sits on the northeast corner of 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue that houses various businesses, and the vacant six-flat.
Ungar said that the six-flat would be torn down within the next few months with no immediate plans of development–at least not for the next few years–and that the building full of businesses would most likely be renovated on the exterior to match the look of the 1600 E. 53rd façade.
The next stages for the project include the application process and approvals of various city departments. Another community meeting is being planned for some time in the spring to keep residents in the loop with the development’s progress.
“We are not just the developer, but we are also the neighbor, and we will approach it in that way,” Ungar said.