Tandem project gets qualified Elliot Park support

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September 22, 2003 // UPDATED 11:04 am - April 30, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

The Elliot Park neighborhood's board of directors voted Sept. 8 to support another high-rise condominium tower next to the Grant Park development -- though just how high remains to be resolved.

The developer, Chicago-based Tandem Properties, also announced it has paid $1.5 million to secure the property. Brian Columbus, Tandem's development manager, said it would still take a couple of months to formally close the land purchase.

The condos would go up on Portland Avenue between 9th and 10th streets near the 27-story Grant Park tower at Portland and 11th Street.

The Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. (EPNI) board of directors gave conceptual approval to the project, conditioning the group's backing on further consultation with the developer. The motion was vague about the building's height -- 15 or 25 stories -- which has become a contentious issue.

The motion calls for a maximum of 300 units and neighborhood-level retail.

EPNI's Building, Housing and Land Use Committee approved the same motion at an Aug. 21 meeting. At that meeting, Tandem showed a design with a 15-story tower to address concerns raised by EPNI staff about the project's height at meetings earlier in the summer.

The neighborhood's master plan, developed through the city, calls for a maximum five-story height in that area.

Columbus said two potential designs are on the table for discussion -- one calling for the 15-story tower and another the 25-story tower. He said support is starting to swing toward the 25-story tower, a plan initially scoffed at by neighborhood leaders. The tower would be narrower than the 15-story design and block fewer views of Downtown, he said.

However, at the Sept. 8 meeting, many directors continued to raise concerns about adding more height and density to the project. One resident at the meeting urged the developers to find another block for the condos.

The project calls for 200-300 units at prices averaging $200,000. The developer has maintained that it will be able to keep prices down by adding more units.