By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Tensions were high on Thursday night April 13, as representatives from MAC Property Management, its parent company Antheus Capital and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) hosted a public meeting for residents of the Hyde Park community to update them on its 250 unit, 28 story building proposal for the corner of 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue.
About 40 community members attended the meeting, which was held at East Park Tower, 5242 S. Hyde Park Blvd. For most of the meeting residents raised concerns such as parking, zoning, apartment views and future living expenses. Their concerns involved Antheus and MAC’s entire project, which includes the 5242 S. Hyde Park Blvd. building, the rezoning of the structure on the northeast corner of 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue and the proposed building for the northwest corner of 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue.
During the meeting, Antheus and MAC representatives presented architectural renderings with 3D images of the new façade proposed for the northeast corner of 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue and the proposed building for the northwest corner of 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue.
“I think it’s going to put serious pressure on parking in the area,” Hyde Park resident Robin Kaufman said. “It will seriously impact residents of Hyde Park.”
A few residents said they liked the idea of drawing new people to the neighborhood but did not like that the community was informed of the changes so late in the process.
Hyde Park resident Gregory Sain said high quality management should be provided for all properties managed by MAC.
“When you put new buildings up you can’t neglect the ones that were already built,” Sain said. “There has to be a balance in amenities.”
Sain MAC’s existing properties may lessen in value if they are neglected for the sake of the new properties.
During the open comments session at the meeting there were several spirited debates between community members and Antheus and MAC representatives that were often mediated by Hairston when she wasn’t involved in them.
Despite the objections to the project by certain residents, Eli Ungar, president and chairman of Antheus, said, during his presentation, that this project would not only drive more revenue into the community but that no tenant’s would be displaced within the process. He also explained that residents shouldn’t be concerned and that it will benefit Hyde Park’s lively and vibrant community both short-term and long-term in value.
Construction on the proposed development is in the process of being approved by the City of Chicago Planning Commission. A hearing will take place on Thursday April 20.
Update: Comments from Eli Ungar were changed from a quote to a paraphrase.