From the Presentation at the TIF Council, February 2010
The developer has been in contact with the City Colleges about working on the hiring for the estimated 1000 permanent jobs and the Illinois Small business Development Center for developing the smaller retail.
The project provides 40,000 square feet of open space, about 1/3 of the site. They hope to break ground in 2011. Phase One (office, hotel, parking, retail, streetscape) complete in 2013. Phase Two (condo tower, two apartment buildings) will wait for the residential market to recover.
The plan restores some of the earlier functions at the site--hotels, entertainment, public space.
The hotel would have 20% extended stay suites for families here for the U of C Medical Center. The rooftop would be open space. The ground floor would have retail and a restaurant.
The office tower will be the same height as the Hyde Park Bank building. The first two floors are retail and upper floors are office space. It's on the corner to be energy efficient and make the most use of daylight in the offices. The project as a whole is looking at LEED Neightborhood Development standards. The office tower would be LEED Platinum (solar panel roofs etc.).
The corner is stepped back to accomodate a newstand on the corner. The sidewalks on Lake Park will be ~10 feet wide. There's a walkway through the parking structure to provide pedestrian flow along Lake Park as well as through the center of the space.
A problem with this design may be that it creates an uninviting wall for anyone approaching Hyde Park on the auto corridor, bus corridor, Metra and South Shore corridors through the neighborhood. Riding the train, I wouldn't look over and say--let's go there. It would be great if some aspect on the corner, East wall was especially inviting at track level. One wants it to be a gateway, not a wall.
52nd Place and Harper Court (the El) would have a steel canopy that would integrate lights, speakers, visual effects, projectors, to knit together the streetscape and provide for nightlife and entertainment on the outdoor stage.