Tuesday, January 11, 2022

McHugh Construction Starts Vertical Construction of Platform 4611

McHugh Construction has begun vertical construction of Platform 4611, a nine-story multifamily building that will offer 200 rental units and street-level retail across from the recently renovated Wilson CTA train station.

CHICAGO (Jan. 10, 2022) — McHugh Construction, one of the Midwest’s largest commercial contractors with a concentration in high-end multifamily, has announced the start of work on Platform 4611, a nine-story mixed-use development at 4611 N. Broadway in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The building will bring 200 rental units and approximately 9,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space to the northeast corner of Broadway and Wilson Avenue, just steps from the Wilson CTA train station.

Chicago-based co-developers The John Buck Company (JBC) and Free Market Ventures tapped McHugh Construction to serve as general contractor on the approximately 154,000-square-foot project, which replaces a cluster of low-rise commercial structures. JBC and McHugh previously collaborated on developments such as the Virgin Hotel in the Loop and MILA Luxury Apartments.

“Whenever a developer with an outstanding reputation like The John Buck Company chooses to partner with us for repeat work, we know it’s because our team has proven themselves in the past and is ready to exceed expectations once again,” said Ray Cisco, project executive with McHugh Construction.

The Uptown project gets the Platform 4611 name from its convenient location across the street from the renovated Wilson CTA train station, which serves the Red and Purple Lines. As a transit-oriented development, Platform 4611 will offer its residents easy access to downtown Chicago as well as provide surface level parking for 22 vehicles and 178 bicycles.

Designed by architecture firm Pappageorge Haymes Partners, the mid-rise building will feature a masonry and glass fa├žade. Levels two through eight will offer a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom units, while the top floor will include four three-bedroom penthouse units and a host of building amenities.

Like many projects in a post-Covid world, JBC, McHugh, and Pappageorge Haymes spent a significant amount of time during the preconstruction phase in identifying building features and programming to respond to the changing needs of all building residents and users and ensure occupants feel safe. Some of those changes include a completely touchless entry sequence, destination dispatch elevators, reservable individual office space on each residential floor, and a fitness center with heat map technology to ensure that occupants maintain social distancing. The rooftop amenity floor is home to a dedicated co-working space as well as an outdoor terrace offering grilling stations for residents, multiple seating areas, and sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

“With a few exceptions, based on the discussions we’re having with multifamily developers, the Chicago market is likely to see more projects like Platform 4611 -- sophisticated mid-rises containing the same finishes and amenity packages you would find in a Class A high-rise,” added Cisco. “By leveraging our decades of experience in multifamily construction, McHugh is able to apply the same level of expertise from our work on downtown’s skyscrapers to more modestly sized, neighborhood-oriented developments like Platform 4611.”

With work on Platform 4611 now underway, McHugh has completed the building’s caisson foundation and has begun vertical construction. The building is on track to top out in spring 2022 and welcome its first residents in late 2022 or early 2023.

Monday, January 10, 2022

New Chicago Pizza Star Milly's Pizza Set to Open on Argyle

We had seen construction going on at 1005 W. Argyle over the last week but haven't had information on what was opening in the former Benny's location until now. (h/t Joe Ward / Block Club Chicago).

COVID-startup Milly's Pizza has announced they are opening their first brick and mortar location next to Don Pablo's Kitchen & Bakeshop, already under construction for their first brick and mortar at 1007 W. Argyle. 

Milly's Pizza (Instagram)

The Block Club Chicago article quotes the owner, who previously operated out of a shared kitchen in Logan Square, as aiming for a 20 seat sitdown along with takeout and delivery.

Since opening during 2020's COVID lockdowns, owner Robert Maleski has gained a number of accolades, including being named a Top 25 pizza place in Chicago, and has great Yelp reviews.  Maleski told the Tribune that his pizza is styled after Chicago pizza giant Burt's Place, and the results on Instagram bear that out.  

Before opening the new location in February, you can try Milly's via Tock. Daily pizza quantities are limited but access should expand along with the additional capacity at the brick and mortar location.

Milly's joins Don Pablo's in a newly hot restaurant corridor, joining recently featured DaNang Kitchen, Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant Kie-Gol-Lanee and a still secret bakery coming soon. 

We will be visiting frequently, as should you.  Support Uptown's small businesses, especially Argyle's many amazing legacy restaurants.

Friday, January 7, 2022

After 3 Proposals, Developer Builds 'As Of Right' At 4537 N Clark


Previous 4 story rendering of 4537 N. Clark (Axios)

Ald. Cappleman just sent out his 2021 year in review newsletter and there were some interesting development tidbits as well as a rundown of all of the projects currently under construction, coming up, or being considered. We are certainly in one of the largest development booms in Uptown's recent history. 

The large property at 4537-45 N. Clark has been empty since demolition a year ago, and Alderman Cappleman's newsletter confirmed our sourcing showing that work is well underway in constructing a new building.  

In a process we see play out time and time again, another developer (Longford) has foregone community input and is building as of right. In each case, the developer requests a zoning change and the local block club (here Dover Street Neighbors) rejects each proposal over height, shadows or parking concerns. Then the developer tweaks the proposal to fit within current zoning and builds basically what was requested before the zoning change request, this time with no input from the alderman (and outside ARO requirements).

You might recall the long saga of this property from prior posts. Two different developers presented 3 different proposals, all turned down by Dover Street Neighbors, which claimed jurisdiction over Clark Street at the time.  Following the rejections, the owners proposed a one story strip mall, but we now know they have now returned to a mixed residential and retail concept.

From what we have seen, the new building will span the three lots and conform with current zoning. It appears the unit count has been lowered from 24 units to 14, suggesting a move to condos, rather than apartments. The building will still be 4 stories with balconies and ground floor retail. 

Although we don't have the latest rendering, we included the last rendering of a 4 story proposal, as the design will likely be similar, at least in size and scale. We will share the rendering once we receive it.

Again, because the developer is building within the zoning, the current local block club, Clark Street Neighbors Association, will not be consulted. 

Tying in with other developments, the development flood gates have opened on Clark! We look forward to seeing the building rise and welcoming new residents.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Health Center Finds New Home, Development Set To Begin On Sheridan

Mavrek Development's 4501 N. Sheridan (Mavrek)

As we reported back nearly one year ago, the new development at 4501 N. Sheridan appears poised to move forward. A sign for Sunnyside Health Center has now appeared at 4140 N. Broadway, seen below. 

4140 N. Broadway (UU)

This was the former location of Super Coin Laundry. We have watched the demo and buildout over the last 6 months with interest. This suggests that the old location of Sunnyside Health Center will close soon, and demolition of the strip mall at 4501 N. Sheridan will follow soon after. Demolition permits have already been requested with the city but not yet granted.

4502-4510 N. Clark Goes Residential With 4 Story Addition

The revitalization of Clark Street continues as a multi-address one story retail building is set to be reborn as residential

We first learned of the plans in early 2021 and saw basic architectural documents. We then watched interior demo take place in the summer. Although there has been no clear progress since then, the building permitting process takes time and we are beginning to see the process play out. 

Plans are detailed in building permits filed for the building, which is on the NW corner of Clark & Sunnyside and has access on both streets. The official address for the development is 4504 N. Clark, and plans show a building spanning approximately 120 feet on Clark with four stories above. The location has been partially empty for over 5 years and is also the recent former home of Fox Village, now relocated to 4625 N. Clark.

According to building permit applications, we can confirm the first story retail facade will remain with 23 ground floor parking spaces and an additional 4 stories of residential containing 12 condo units and balconies added above. We can't release architectural plans yet, but the office of Jonathan Splitt Architects is the architect of record and Raftery Construction is the developer.  Splitt, as loyal readers will recall, is the architectural firm that handled the Eagles Building rehab on Sheridan and Broadway.

Scaffolding has been erected around the vintage building and the windows are now boarded up in anticipation of construction. Depending on when the remaining permits are issued, we expect completion as early as mid-2022 to early 2023. 

This continues the renaissance of Clark Street, which has seen developments at 4410 N. Clark, 4511-23 N. Clark, 4533 N. Clark, 4537-53 N. Clark (pending) and 4641 N. Clark, with more yet to come. These developments will revitalize the strip and add needed housing density as well as much-needed modern retail spaces. We also are watching nearby buildings at 4502 N. Beacon (almost complete), 4630 N. Malden (about to start) and 1351 W. Wilson (pending zoning review), all of which will provide a huge boost to the area and replace empty lots. It's a good time to be in Uptown.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Uptown's Got Igloos, but Not for the Cold

If you've made your way down Argyle like we did for Christmas shopping, you may have noticed some changes to the streetscape. Scattered along Argyle and Broadway are multiple igloos, sponsored by Uptown United, Asia on Argyle and the City of Chicago. 

Argyle & Kenmore

The program is called Winter on Argyle and runs through spring. The intent is to encourage on site, in person dining outside the restaurants. Each igloo has a table and chairs for four.

It's January 2022, Time for a Development Update

2021 was a busy year in Uptown, and 2022 looks to be even busier.

Close to Uptown's northern border, we check in on the development at 1131-1135 W. Winona (Winona and Broadway). 

1135 Winona (In Progress)

1131-1135 Winona (Cedar Street)

Known locally as "5051 Broadway," the three-building project is an extension of the 5050 N. Broadway rehab completed by Cedar Street in 2020. Construction is well underway with completion by the end of 2022. 

Next up, another Cedar Street project, this time at 4600 N. Kenmore. Readers will recall this as the former parking lot of 1050 W. Wilson, now future home to the new Double Door.

4600 Kenmore (Cedar Street / Level Architecture)

4600 Kenmore (In Progress)

This five story development will feature 62 new units and is expected to complete construction by summer.

One door down, 4611 N. Broadway has made it above ground level and (so we hear) will top out by late spring. With the Double Door, this 9 story, 200 unit project will remake the corner of Wilson and Broadway.

4611 Broadway (John Buck Company / Pappageorge Haymes)

4611 Broadway (In Progress)

Meanwhile, over on Uptown's other major diagonal street, things on Clark are heating up. 4410 N. Clark, a 24 unit new build replaced an empty warehouse and is now owned by Black Ensemble Theater courtesy of Jeff Bezos' ex. Expect completion in early spring.

4410 Clark (2rz)

4410 Clark (In Progress)

Directly north on Clark, 4511 N. Clark has received demolition permits and demolition and construction are imminent.

4511 N. Clark (2rz Architects)

One door north, another 24 units are coming on line with the rehabilitation of the former "Bag Plaza" building at 4533 N. Clark. After rehab in 2012, Honore Developments bought the building in 2021 and is converting the former commercial warehouse to residential, including adding an additional story (shown below).

4533 N. Clark 

Next door, we await the new plans for 4537 N. Clark, currently an empty lot. This was the subject of three prior development proposals, all rejected by the Dover Street block club. We hear the developer is now building to right and will seek no input from the local block club. Expect around 14 new units with ground floor commercial.

Up the block, the condo development at 4645 N. Clark is close to topping out. The former home of
"Exotic Creations," the building is being built as of right. We hear the site will feature 4 duplex condos.

4645 N. Clark (Hanna Architects)

4645 N. Clark (In Progress_

Lots of progress and we look forward to seeing all of these buildings completed this year. And psst, there is yet more development news to come for the 4400, 4500, 4600 and 4700 blocks of Clark, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Want Ethiopian Coffee? Queen Sheba Cafe Is Now Open on Broadway

After navigating the notorious City of Chicago permitting process, Queen Sheba Cafe is finally open in the tiny building across from the Uptown Post Office at 4851 N. Broadway.

4851 N. Broadway

The small building housing the new cafe is part of the Sun Plaza mall and was most recently the home of Accurate Auto Insurance before sitting empty for the last 5 years. 

We first heard about the new tenant over a year ago, but as we preach here at UU, things take time in Chicago. 

From our editor's in person visit, it appears that the cafe is in a soft opening phase and has Ethiopian coffee and a selection of baked goods to go. The cafe's sign also promises sandwiches, bubble tea, ice cream and more, but for now, our editor didn't sample the food but says "good coffee!"

From the owner: 

"Located in the heart of Uptown, Queen Sheba is an elegant and friendly coffee shop featuring the world famous house-made grade A Ethiopian coffee. Our cafe is open everyday with simple breakfast and hot drinks."

Queen Sheba Cafe is open daily 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Support Uptown's small businesses! 

Friday, December 17, 2021

101 Units of New Affordable Housing Approved for Uptown

Yesterday the Chicago Department of Planning and Development announced that it had approved two new affordable housing developments in Uptown, one at 835 West Wilson and one at 4737 N. Sheridan.

Taken together, the two developments will add 101 new units of affordable to the neighborhood and add needed density, filling a long-empty lot on Wilson and replacing an unsightly street level parking lot on Sheridan.

835 W. Wilson (Chicago DPD)

First reported here in June 2020, 835 West Wilson will be affordable senior housing. Per DPD, twenty units will be rented at 30% of the AMI ("area median income"), 34 units will be rented at 60% of the AMI, and 19 units will be rented at 80% of the AMI. Brinshore Developments, a developer focusing on affordable developments, is the owner and developer.

4737 N. Sheridan (Chicago DPD)

The building at 4737 N. Sheridan, first reported here in October 2020, is the third location for Sarah's Circle and will be paid for by over $3 million in in lieu funds from the upcoming 4600 N. Marine Development.  The building will provide 28 units of permanent supportive housing units for at risk women below 30% of the AMI, office space for Sarah's Circle, and six parking spaces. 

Local residents will recall that Sarah's Circle built another 38 unit building at Sheridan and Leland in 2019 using $3.5 million of local TIF funds. Alderman Cappleman wrote that in his June 2021 letter approving the 4600 Marine development that Sarah's Circle would not use TIF funds for this project, but we heard from the 46th Ward Office that Sarah's Circle needed to tap $500,000 from the local TIF for project design after DPD requested revisions.

At the same time, Weiss Hospital's owner has continued to follow through on promises made during the review process for 4600 Marine, announcing that a new multimillion dollar renovation and expansion is prepared to give Weiss one of the most advanced orthopedic units in the city.

From our perspective here at UU, this news, coupled with the upcoming 4600 N. Marine project, looks like a win-win-win-win outcome for the residents of Uptown. We look forward to the added density, infill of empty spaces, and increased availability of affordable housing to Uptown's most vulnerable women and seniors.

Ready for Summer? Uptown Taproom's Patio Beckons

Back in April, we disclosed plans for a new taproom in the vacant Godfather's Pizza space at the southeast corner of Malden and Wilson (which we first learned about way back in 2020). The editorial team here at UU had our fingers crossed for a late summer 2021 opening, but Chicago being Chicago, there was no visible progress on the space other than some cleaning and removal of debris while the legal process churned away in the background.

A couple of weeks ago a reader sent us a message sharing a letter received from an attorney for Neighborhood Taprooms LLC announcing an application for a zoning variance for "Uptown Taproom," and within the past few days a Public Notice has gone up in the window announcing the same application.

While the notice and letter don't tell us anything about timing, our bet is that the owners are working towards a spring/summer opening. This location, which will be the third for Uptown-based Neighborhood Taprooms (joining Lakeview Taproom and Lincoln Square Taproom), has the advantage of a large outdoor patio space facing west at Malden and Wilson. We expect the patio will draw plenty of thirsty Uptowners in the warm weather months.

Want a peek into what might be planned for this space? Click on the links above for some photos of the other locations and some insight into what the owners might have in store for this new location.

We are excited to see progress in the coming months.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Uptown's Newest Dental Clinic Opening in January

Dr. Jongnok Jennifer Lee is poised to open her first solo dental practice at 4759 North Ashland in early 2022 inside the La Lux building, which you may recall replaced a longstanding auto repair shop in 2018. Trianon Development was the developer for the modern building, which alongside the renovated Mobil station across the street, has changed the look and feel of the Lawrence and Ashland intersection.

Dr. Lee, who previously practiced in a group practice at Precision Dental Care on South Ashland, will be the sole doctor at the new Wellness Dental Care

According to her bio, Dr. Lee graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended UIC College of Dentistry.  She allegedly is a Steelers fan, but we won't hold that against her. 

Per her website, she is taking appointments for January 2022. The practice's phone number is (773) 808-7744.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Uptown Real Estate Remains Hot with Near-Record Sale

Local developer Mavrek Development just closed a deal selling two of its most recent Uptown properties for $17 million, a near-record on a per unit basis.  Interest in Uptown real estate remains high despite the pandemic. 

843 W. Agatite - Source: Mavrek Development

As readers may recall, Mavrek built the now sold property at 843 W. Agatite in 2019, filling a lot that was empty for nearly 40 years

4714 N. Sheridan - Source: Mavrek Development

In 2021, Mavrek completed the Mondrian at 4714 N. Sheridan, replacing a shuttered recycling center and more recently a one-story building housing ABC & Me Daycare.

Mavrek has additional Uptown buildings in the pipeline, with the next project at 4501 N. Sheridan currently awaiting permits.

The Sheridan and Agatite buildings were 96% occupied at the time of sale, further proof of the active and thriving rental market in Uptown.