Demo to begin for City HP

Staff Writer

The old buildings at the Village Shopping Center should be demolished in coming weeks.

Peter Cassel, director of community development for Antheus Capital, told the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council on Monday, Sept. 30, that the buildings should be gone by the end of the year.

Construction on the 17-story building that will eventually house 110,000 square feet of retail including a Whole Foods, 182 apartments, and two levels of underground parking, would begin early next year.

Cassel’s presentation to the council discussed the parking changes that will come as a result of the construction of City Hyde Park and the traffic changes it will require.

The two levels of parking that will be underneath the building at 51st Street and Lake Park Avenue will have at least 350 parking spaces and as many as 400, Cassel said. The exact number may vary during construction.

Cassel also announced that three greystones between 5110 and 5114 S. Harper Ave. will be demolished. Antheus bought the properties in 2008, he said, as a defensive move when they were “a rat-infested mess.”

Antheus has been unable to find a way to rehab the buildings affordably, so to accommodate the retailers’ and neighborhoods demand for more parking the lots the houses occupy will be turned into a 28 space paid parking lot.

Trucks delivering products to City Hyde Park, including Whole Foods, will enter the building from the alley on the north end of Harper Avenue. To allow the trucks space to turn into the building a total of 130 feet of public parking, roughly space for seven cars, will be eliminated from Harper Avenue.

Because vehicles will no longer egress onto 51st Street a total of five parking spaces will be added along 51st Street. Three will be metered spaces and two will be unmetered.
There will be a total loss of two parking spaces from the street.

Additionally, for 18 months the parking surrounding the site on the east side of Harper, south side of 51st Street and west side of Lake Park Avenue will be closed for construction.

Cassel said Antheus will pay $200,000 to the city to compensate for the lost parking.

The parking spaces will be occupied while the site is excavated, to make room for the underground parking structure and repair the sewers beneath it. The spaces need to have tiebacks installed into the surrounding ground to retain the earth and keep the area from collapsing in on the dig site.

The tiebacks will need to be drilled into the street, and the streets will be repaired once excavation and construction is complete.

Additionally, City Hyde Park will add a permanent traffic light mid-block onto Lake Park Avenue, near the existing curb cut at the site. Cassel said the light will coordinate with the light at 51st Street to prevent traffic bunching on an already busy street, and allow shoppers easier access coming and going from City Hyde Park.

There will be three stoplights between 51st Street and 52nd Street as a result.

The project is already a year behind schedule, due primarily to challenges with getting all the funding sources secured. Cassel said the project is on schedule to open in the fall of 2015.

The project is being funded with $11.3 million in tax increment financing (TIF) dollars, a tax base that a community creates with the intended purpose of using that money to spur development in a designated area.

The project is also being funded with new market tax credits, a federal tax break for buildings constructed in “low-income areas;” tax breaks that come from building in an enterprise zone, which will save the developers millions in construction costs and private equity and funding sources.

To be eligible for the enterprise zone benefits, Antheus had to request the enterprise zone map be redrawn to accommodate its land. And to be eligible for TIF dollars, without waiting in line behind Harper Court, Antheus requested to be removed from the 53rd Street TIF district and become its own, self-funding TIF district.
The remaining funds are coming through private funding and equity.