Saturday, May 20, 2023

Black Ensemble Theater Plans For Former JASC Property Revealed

BET's plan for the east side of Clark from Sunnyside south 

We told you back in October that Black Ensemble Theater (BET) had purchased the former home of the Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) for $5.5M and now we have our first look at what they have planned for the parcel stretching from 4427-4459 N. Clark. 

Thanks to @minc798 on Twitter who noticed the zoning application on the Chicago City Clerk's website.

Plans call for a 6+ story residential building with 50 units (a mix of 1 and 2 bedrooms) and a plaza facing Clark. The curving plaza appears to separate the residential from the north building, which will house an education center with classrooms, recording and dance studios, and a small theater that would stretch north toward Sunnyside. Readers will recall the building previously on that parcel was demolished back in 2019. 

Plans also call for a caferestaurant (possibly the oft rumored soul food restaurant?) and three retail spaces spread across the two buildings.

The application includes the rendering shared above. While this isn't visually the greatest, it provides an idea of what is planned  The architects of the project are Gensler and NIA. 

Neighbors living within 250 feet of the project can expect to receive zoning notice from the owner's attorney.  The proposed zoning change will move the property from the current B3-3 and C1-2 to B3-3 (Business Institutional Residential Planned Development), which in turn will allow for the added density and height. The new buildings will make this stretch significantly taller and more modern, complimenting the newly built buildings on the 4500, 4600 and (soon) 4700 blocks.

No word on BET's plans for funding. Mackenzie Bezos was a previous revenue source, BET previously drew on TIF funds for the 2011 theater project across Clark, and took out a loan for their purchase of 4507 Clark and JASC in 2022. Stay tuned!

If you'd like to review the full zoning application, which includes more detailed plans, check it out.

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