Skyscape groundbreaking party is Wednesday

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September 12, 2005 // UPDATED 1:57 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Jeremy Stratton
Jeremy Stratton

Two months after the last townhouse was completed on Grant Park, Elliot Park's first tower condos, a second developer will celebrate the groundbreaking of a nearby residential high-rise.

Chicago-based Tandem Developers' Sept. 14 party heralds the 27-story Skyscape, now rising at 953 Portland Ave. The 4-8 p.m. event at Elliot Park's Gallery Atitlan, 609 S. 10th St., will feature food and drink, live music and sales incentives, and is open to the public. (Call 340-9000 to RSVP.)

The event signals 20 months of construction on the block bounded by South 9th and 10th streets and Park and Portland avenues. David Fields, community development coordinator for Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. (EPNI), said a neighborhood task force would meet regularly with Tandem to keep neighbors abreast of the impact of construction in terms of traffic, noise and debris -- a lesson learned during Grant Park's construction.

Tandem's Paul Dincin, Skyscape's manager, said he doesn't expect traffic to be affected beyond closing one lane on the Park and Portland one-ways, but that "some dirt and noise is inevitable."

Anyone with concerns is encouraged to call Fields at 335-5846, ext. 13.

Tandem announced May 15 that it had sold half of the planned 252 units, and that construction would begin mid-July. Dincin said a slow permitting process pushed back the date, but sales have been consistent and the visible construction should spur more residents and potential retailers to buy and lease, he said.

Condo prices range from $185,000 to $1.25 million for penthouses, which Dincin said have sold so well that two more have been added to the design. Four penthouses have been sold.

A 5th-floor green roof will act as both an environmental and lifestyle amenity, Dincin pointed out, with lawn bowling and four to five barbecue areas outside a party room, spa with a hot tub and steam and massage rooms, and a business center.

The vast majority of first-floor retail will be a single 10,000-sqaure-foot space, which could house a grocery or large drug store, Dincin said. A smaller 1,500-square-foot space opens onto an ungated courtyard outside three townhouses.

While talk of a Trader Joe's gourmet grocery store is still just that, Dincin said Skyscape has drawn "a lot of interest from national retailers." Tandem is also open to nonfranchise businesses, he said -- a high priority for the Elliot Park neighborhood group. Fields said "neighborhood-level destination businesses" are preferred, something such as the locally owned diner slated for the Sexton building, under construction at 8th Street & Portland.

"We would love to have a local retailer, as long as there is clear sustainability," Dincin said. "Not for us so much as for the neighborhood. Something that's not opening and closing."

Dincin said that the larger commercial space could be separated into three smaller ones.