By ALLISON MATYUS
This year, Hyde Park saw the completion of two developments: Vue53, 1330 E. 53rd St., and the Campus North Residential Commons, 5600 S. University Ave.
The Studio Gang-designed Campus North Residential Commons opened for the new school year in September after about two years of construction. The four-building development includes a dining hall, student housing and retail space.
“We wanted to have a building to clearly reflect the openness to the community of Hyde Park and beyond,” said University of Chicago President, Robert Zimmer, during a media tour back in September.
A few blocks north of the commons sits the completed Vue53 development across from Nichols Park. The 12-story building took 18 months of construction and residents began moving into their new digs in September.
The completed development, geared more towards students, has 267 units with a modern feel to them. Amenities include a shared game area, pool table, kitchenette and ample patio space.
“We had always hoped that the building would reflect the diversity of Hyde Park as a whole, and so far it is,” said Property Manager, Jackie Pingel, in an earlier interview.
Making way for new neighbors
While some developments reached completion, others only have just begun in 2016.
Solstice on the Park
After being introduced to the community almost a decade ago, it was announced in February that the Studio Gang-designed Solstice on the Park, 1634 E. 56th St., was approved to begin construction.
The 26-story residential building will have 250 units and 316 parking spaces. The building will overlook the Museum of Science and Industry and Jackson Park.
Concerns arose from the community since the Solstice property is next door to Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E. 56th St., but at a Local School Council (LSC) meeting in September, developers met with the school’s community to talk about construction safety.
“Safety is our number one concern, which is why we will be using best practices during the construction process,” said Brad Beck, the project manager at Linn-Mathes, the contractor for the project.
Construction for Solstice began in October and at the December Bret Harte LSC meeting, Principal Shenethe Parks said that despite some construction noise, things have been running smoothly.
Plans are moving ahead for the 53rd Street boutique hotel that is being designed by Smart Hotels, LLC, after approval from the Chicago Planning Commission came in May.
The project was proposed last year to much discontent from the community about parking and many community meetings have been held in regards to the hotel.
The hotel will be on the southeast corner of 53rd Street and Dorchester Avenue and will have 100 rooms, a ground floor restaurant and a rooftop amenity area. Also included in the plan is a 15-spot parking lot for guests.
During an interview with the Herald in July, Ed Small, the president of Smart Hotels, said that they plan to hold more meetings when there are updates to report to the neighborhood.
Small said in July that construction would begin this fall, but nothing has happened yet at the site. Smart Hotels did not immediately respond to the Hyde Park Herald’s request of updates.
1400 E Hyde Park
In July, developer Campbell Coyle Real Estate announced a new project on the northeast corner of Hyde Park Boulevard and Dorchester Avenue that would house 19 luxury condo units.
A community meeting hosted by Ald. Sophia King (4th) was held to discuss the proposed project, which would be built on a parking lot.
“The goal is to identify [parking] strategies and I think it’s going to take more than one solution,” said Christopher Dillion, the president of Campbell Coyle Real Estate, at the July meeting.
The modern units would range in price from $393,900 to $959,000. At the meeting, Dillion said they would need 35 to 45 percent of presales in order to move the project forward.
Campbell Coyle was not able to respond to requests of updates.
1600 E 53rd
Only last week, MAC Property Management proposed a new residential development on the northwest corner of 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue.
The proposed building would stand 27 stories high and house 250 units that will include studio, one and two bedroom apartments. The ground floor will be retail space and above that, there will be four floors of parking with 160 spaces.
The development would create a continuation of 53rd Street retail activity past Lake Park Avenue.
“The activation of that space in the ground level is one of the most important aspects,” said Eli Ungar, the founder of Antheus Capital and its affiliate, MAC Properties, at a community meeting Dec. 20.
The development is still in the early stages of the process, but Ungar told residents at the meeting that more public meetings will be held to keep the community in the loop.
If all goes as planned, 1600 E. 53rd would begin construction in 2017 and finish in the first half of 2019.
Shrine is saved
A devastating fire on Oct. 7 of 2015 damaged the Woodlawn neighborhood icon, Shrine of Christ the King Church, 6401 S. Woodlawn Ave.
The church’s future was called into question after the fire, due to the caved in roof, and safety concerns led to a demolition permit. A community coalition quickly rallied to save the Shrine, which is the only Catholic parish in the Woodlawn area.
On Feb. 28, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced that it had deeded the property to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, so the future of the Shrine was in the hands of the congregation.
The congregation, along with the help of Woodlawn residents and non-profit leaders, was able to raise approximately $65,000 to begin restoration.
The Shrine officially began the first phase of the restoration process in April. Updates on the process were given in October when Canon Matthew Talarico told the Herald that the next step in the process will begin in March, which will include the rebuilding of the roof.