illustration: Robert Gordon Associates
The developer Ibrahim Shihadeh, president of Creative Designs Builders, recalls the stately 13-story brick and terra cotta building at 5346 South Cornell Avenue from his days as a college student at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the 1970s. Friends lived there, and the place, built in 1918, was already on a downhill slide. “It’s been deteriorating since then,” he says.
Now this faded Hyde Park gem, newly christened the Silver Cloud, is regaining its original luster as Shihadeh converts its 120 dingy apartments into 72 condominiums. The rehabilitation has included new wood trim and baseboards for a vintage look-although to boost the homes’ energy efficiency, the developer used exposed heating ducts rather than concealing them behind wallboard. Shihadeh-who has developed several other multi-unit buildings, both new and rehabbed, in the city and in Evanston-also plans to erect a new mid-rise tower on the vacant lot to the north that would include parking for Silver Cloud residents. Each condo will have two bedrooms and two baths and encompass between 900 and 1,100 square feet. Prices vary by view and floor plans. Sales began in mid-September, and condo owners were expected to begin arriving in October.
A Main Street development helps create a downtown for an old outlying suburb
llustration: courtesy of Gateway Centre
“Nobody really knew where West Chicago’s downtown is,” says James J. Madden Sr. To remedy that, Madden is working with officials in this old railroad town to create a village center along a block-plus stretch of Main Street.
The project has included building new retail and mixed-use structures, putting a new façade on an existing store, and making extensive street improvements. Now, alongside two preexisting Hispanic grocery stores, the town center has a pizza place, a dentist’s office, a credit union, and other retail businesses.
To add the all-important residential foot traffic to this downtown mix, Gateway Centre Development-which Madden runs with his son, James Jr.-is putting up two four-story condo buildings, with a total of 78 residential units planned. They have completed the first building, at 515 Main Street, where 14 of 39 units remain for sale. They range from an 872-square-foot one-bedroom priced at $174,900 to a 1,340-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath priced at $252,900. Buyers can move in now. Construction on the second building, at 487 Main Street, originally scheduled for early summer 2006, has been postponed to spring 2007.
Sweet Home Chicago
No singing the blues as a condo conversion rocks and rolls a former Chess Studio warehouse
illustration: Mauge, Inc.
Yet another old warehouse building is going condo, but this one has a history that rocks. The eight-story building now undergoing renovation at 21st Street and Calumet Avenue was for two decades part of Chess Records, which put Chicago blues and early rock-’n'-roll on vinyl. The Chess studio itself was two blocks west on Michigan Avenue, but this building, a former color printing plant built in the 1920s, housed some of the label’s offices-though Jerry Mazo, a sales associate for the developer, Chess Lofts LLC, says there was also a recording studio here on the sixth floor. Today, the only hint of Chess’s hepcat heyday is the stylish lobby with its swooping banisters and striped terrazzo floor.
Of the 119 units-17 per floor-64 had sold at press time. The remainder range from a one-bedroom, 637-square-foot unit for $209,900 to a two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,168-square-foot unit for $439,900. The building should be ready for occupancy by April 2007, according to Barbara McGill, the developer’s marketing director.
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