By CHRISTOPHER AMATI
A proposed zoning amendment from B1-5 to B3-5 has been posted at the building at 1634-1644 E. 53rd Street east of Cornell Avenue. This amendment would change the description of the nature of the location from retail storefronts on low-traffic streets to shopping center, large stores and retail storefronts that are often built along major streets.
The 1634-1644 E. 53rd Street property sits among ongoing development projects that include the recent sell of the East Park Tower, 5242 S. Hyde Park Blvd., to New Jersey-based firm Blumberg & Freilich Equities, the demolition of a six-flat building on the land just north of the East Park Tower and development plans for the parking lot on the northwest corner of 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue.
According to the proposal, the building on Cornell has been slated for renovation to match the appearance of the proposed apartment building across the street. Known as “Subarea B” in the proposal, architectural renderings have shown it with a different façade.
Construction on the proposed development is in the process of being approved by the Chicago Plan Commission. The required public hearings before the Commission and the City Council Committee on Zoning have yet to be held. According to the Chicago Architecture website, as of Feb. 14, the paperwork had not appeared on any city hall committee agendas.
AthletiCo, Foot and Ankle Clinics of America, and Universal Dental Clinic currently occupy the building. None of the occupants said they had been notified of any imminent changes.
This all occurs against the backdrop of reported financial trouble for Antheus Capital. Morningstar Credit ratings reports that the New Jersey-based company has a $112 million mortgage payment due on its 43-property Hyde Park portfolio and that the load has been transferred to a firm that services problem loans. A tight financial real estate market is making it hard for many firms to acquire the capital they need to pay off loans made when market conditions were more promising. The 10-year loans made then are coming due and many real estate firms in Chicago are having trouble making the payments, with a delinquency rate in the city at 6.73 percent in January, the highest it has been in over three years.