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by Dennis Rodkin

A Diamond in the Rough
As a long-shuttered restaurant makes way for upscale, Prairie-style condos, a public park extends its reach along the crowded shoreline of Diamond Lake

Illustration: Image Grille S.D.S.
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A waterfront restaurant on Lake County’s Diamond Lake is making way for an upscale condominium development-in the process opening up about 400 feet of shoreline for an existing public park. The park’s extension will displace a long-shuttered restaurant, while across the street, two four-story condo buildings-called Water’s Edge on Diamond Lake-will go up on the site of the restaurant’s parking lot.

One Water’s Edge building will face the lake, with the other standing behind it. Designed in the Prairie style, the buildings will house fairly sizable condos, many of which will include an impressive round “gallery” space in the entry hall. “That’s for the ‘wow’ factor when you walk in the front door, and to soften up the hard lines,” says Mark Barati, CEO of The Granite Group Chicago, the developer of Water’s Edge.

Prices start at $304,990, for the project’s lone one-bedroom unit which is 1,112 square feet. All the others are two- or three-bedroom units, which top out at $469,990 for a 1,832-square-foot three-bedroom condo. Occupancy for the first building is scheduled for December 2007, and for the second, three months later.

Piece by Piece
A new development marks another step forward in the Cabrini-Green makeover

Illustration: Courtesy of Parkside of Old Town
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Parkside of Old Town, a combination of market-rate, affordable, and public housing, is slated for 18 acres at the center of the rapidly transforming Cabrini-Green neighborhood. “This is kind of the hole in the doughnut,” says Doug Guthrie, the president of Kimball Hill Urban Centers, which is building Parkside along with Holsten Real Estate Development and Cabrini-Green LAC Community Development, a CHA tenants’ organization.

A mix of townhouses, mid-rise condos, and rental units ensconced in 32 different buildings, the development will replace three Chicago Housing Authority high-rises built in 1958. The affordable and public-housing units-50 percent of the 790 units planned for Parkside-are being sold or leased separately.

The market-rate offerings range from a 700-square-foot one-bedroom condo priced at $215,990-in a nine-story condo building going up next to Seward Park near Orleans and Division streets-to a 2,250-square-foot three-story, three-bedroom townhouse priced at $799,990. The first of 73 townhouses will be completed this May, says Guthrie, and the first phase of condominiums in May 2008.

Modern Memento
A contemporary building uses historic touches from its neighborhood’s past

Illustration: Courtesy of Terrapin Properties
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Madison 901, the 148-unit condo building nearing completion at Madison and Peoria streets, combines the sturdy red-brick look of the neighborhood’s former days as a warehouse district with the glass, piers, and bracketed balconies that characterize its latest incarnation. The ten-story building is the third in the neighborhood for Terrapin Properties. Michael Ezgur, a principal in the firm, says a fourth will go up within a few years at Madison and Halsted streets.

On its top floor, Madison 901 will offer a 7,500-square-foot complex of fitness center and party rooms with a “catwalk” balcony wrapped around the building. The site is just north of a new city park of nearly one and a half acres at Sangamon Avenue and Adams Street. Above one floor of retail and two floors of parking, Madison 901’s U-shaped structure faces the park, providing (for the time being) views of what will be the neighborhood’s first big open space.

At press time, 33 condos remained for sale. One-bedroom condos range in price from $268,721 for a 766-square-foot unit to $399,681 for a 1,137-square-foot unit with a den. There are also a few two-bedroom condos available, such as a 1,087-square-foot unit for $374,752. Occupancy is scheduled for May.