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Proposed Belmont and Clark Tower Now Taller, More Traditional

By Serena Dai | November 14, 2013 1:49pm
 BlitzLake Capital Partners debuted a new preliminary design for a development at 3200 N. Clark St., the corner of Belmont and Clark, to neighbors in November 2013.
3200 N. Clark St.
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LAKEVIEW — Owners of a potential new development on the Dunkin' Donuts lot at Belmont and Clark have revealed an updated design to neighbors — one that's a floor higher but with more set-backs from the street and a more traditional look.

Previously, BlitzLake Capital Partners showed Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and the Community Directed Development Council a modern 10-story glass building at 3200 N. Clark St.

The newest rendition of the $50 million project is a more traditional looking 11-story building with a glazed terra cotta and glass exterior, three floors of retail, 100 rental units and 116 parking spots.

The new design represents one more story, more apartments and fewer parking spots than the previous version of the plan, taking advantage of a recent ordinance allowing new developments near major transit to offer fewer parking spaces.

After conversations with Tunney and others, developers decided to update the design to bring in more elements from the surrounding neighborhood, said the architect on the project, Howard Hirsch, who presented the drawing to the Triangle Neighbors group on Wednesday.

Hirsch looked at other iconic buildings on corners in busy intersections, such as the Uptown bank building and the Northwest Tower in Wicker Park, to create a "modern" building that "still has the traditional feel of the neighborhood" for Lakeview, he said.

"It's to play up the idea that this is an iconic corner for Lakeview," Hirsch said.

To create the "iconic corner" feel, taller floors of the building would be set back from the street to "give shape to the corner," Hirsch said. In the previous rendering, apartments went right up to Clark Street. 

The proposed 50,000 square feet of retail would be in the basement level, the ground floor and the second floor.

Retail tenants are not yet set, said BlitzLake Capital partner David Blitz and Mitch Goltz, BlitzLake's director of leasing. However, they said they are hoping for a wide mix of stores and are speaking with grocery stores, restaurants and retail fashion vendors.

Entrance to parking would be on Clark Street at the most northern point of the property, right next to The Alley, 3228 N. Clark St. Half the parking is designated for residents, and the other half is for retail use.

For residents, there would be a small spa, a deck space, an exercise room and party room. Part of the roof would offer green space. 

The Belmont and Clark property is BlitzLake's second venture on the street. The company also purchased the former J. Toguri Mercantile building across the street at 851 W. Belmont Ave. That building will soon be home to the Annoyance Theatre, local fast casual restaurant I Dream of Falafel and dentist Lakeview Smiles.

Though at least one tall tower project in the neighborhood was recently met with strong opposition, Tunney pointed to the Wicker Park's Northwest Tower as a "good comparison" of how a taller building might work in an urban setting .

Tunney said taller projects can work "as long as there is some homage to neighborhood buildings, as long as you're not trying to duplicate them."

A nearby senior home at Clark Street and Aldine Avenue is also more than 20 stories tall, he said.

Hirsch and developers still must meet with other neighborhood groups before proceeding.

The planned development process is expected to take about six months, Hirsch said, and they hope to start the demolition and construction process in summer of 2014. 

Once it starts, the building is expected to take about 16 to 18 months to complete, Hirsch said.