WEST LOOP — Developers have bought the 67-year-old building that houses Carmichael's Steakhouse with plans to demolish the West Loop restaurant and replace it with a huge rental complex, city records show.
Developer Michigan Avenue Realty Group plans to raze Carmichael's, 1052 W. Monroe St., and build two four-story buildings, one with 57 units and the other with 74, according to the group's proposal before the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The first building, at 1050 W. Monroe St., would feature 75 parking spaces, five ground-floor units with 69 units with either balconies or rooftop decks. The second property, at 1060 W. Monroe St., would have three ground-floor units, 54 upper-floor units and 57 parking spaces. Renderings for the two buildings also show a small outdoor courtyard near the corner of Monroe and Aberdeen streets.
The rentals will "fit right in with the character of the surrounding area," the proposal states.
Officials with Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group — which recently developed a residential building at Madison and Aberdeen — did not respond to requests for comment. Attorney Thomas Moore also could not be reached.
Because the proposal calls for ground-floor rental units and no setback between the street and the buildings, the plan must receive a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals, a city spokesman said. A meeting is scheduled for April 18.
If built, the building would also eliminate an adjacent tree-filled green space to the east of Carmichael's and eliminate an existing surface parking lot on the property.
The complex sits in an area that will be the ward of Ald. Danny Solis (25th) beginning in 2015. Solis spokeswoman Stacy Raker said Thursday that the alderman had not been consulted on the project and was scheduled to meet with the developers Thursday afternoon.
"The alderman is obviously unhappy with the fact they have not gone to the community and have not moved forward with talking to residents," she said.
Armando Chacon, president of the West Central Association Chamber of Commerce, said he's already received multiple emails and phone calls from West Loop residents upset at losing both the Carmichael's building and green space.
"I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t disappointed," Chacon said Wednesday. "It’s not really a problem with the development, it’s just a loss of something that everybody really likes."
Resident Kelley Smith, who lives down the street from Carmichael’s, said the rental building would strip the character from that part of the neighborhood.
“It’s not like it’s an empty lot or an eyesore for the neighborhood,” said Smith, who’s lived in the West Loop for seven years. “It’s the green space, the old trees. Everything about that particular space is unique to the neighborhood.”
Carmichael's was opened in 1997 by Mel Bechina, who also owns Carmichael Truck Repair. The structure was built in 1947. This past summer, First Lady Michelle Obama ate at the restaurant with daughters Sasha and Malia before attending a Beyonce concert at the United Center, according to the steakhouse's Facebook page.
A manager at Carmichael's on Wednesday said she could neither confirm nor deny that the steakhouse was being sold or torn down.
Bechina could not be reached for comment.
Contributing: Darryl Holliday