Expansive Atrium Redevelopment Proposed

by Chicago Agent

An aggressive re-development plan for the Atrium would change the village's entire layout.

Chicago’s Atrium Village was created in the late ’70s as a social experiment, of sorts, one that consciously mixed economic and racial lines under the gaze of Cabrini-Green towers.

Now, though, the surrounding areas have developed. The Cabrini-Green towers are gone, expansive high-rises and businesses have taken their place, and owners of the Atrium are looking to aggressively update the Atrium to reflect the area’s changes.

The plan involves converting the aging, 307-unit complex into a modern, 1,673 home development with four high rises, the tallest of which would be 44 stories.

The new properties, the developers insist, would still be consistent with the Atrium’s original intent. For instance, 20 percent of the units, or, 320 in total, would be affordable, meaning rented to individuals who earned, at most, 80 percent of the region’s median income.

Jeffrey Crane, the president of Crane Construction Co. LLC and one of the project’s partners, said that the new developments would better incorporate the Atrium into the city.

“While it served its purpose to everybody, today it’s not really a part of any neighborhood,” Crane said. “It needs to be redeveloped, consistent with the original mission.”

The developers also say that the developments will create minimal displacement, and that they will absorb any moving costs for renters who wish stay on the property.

Rent rates, however, could raise substantially. According to one hypothetical scenario presented by the developers, rent could climb more than $500, from $1,303 to $1,890.

Renters were offered their first view of the new plans last week Wednesday at the first of several community meetings that developers have planned.

The real man to impress, though, will be Walter Burnett, Jr., the 27th Ward Alderman who needs to decide if he will back the proposal.

“We’ll see how it’s going to do. It’s a very ambitious plan,” Burnett said.

Burnett also said that developers must meet with Old Town Merchants and several other groups from the area.

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