WEST LOOP — In an effort to address community concerns, developers planning to build on the Carmichael's site are dropping apartments and adding more green space to their plans.
According to the latest renderings presented at a meeting Monday night, Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group now plans to develop 120 apartments on land at 1050 and 1060 W. Monroe St. in the West Loop. The developer, who plans to build two four-story brick buildings, previously pitched 130 apartments at the Carmichael's site.
The proposed $40 million development would see three one-bedroom units, 92 two-bedroom units and 25 three-bedroom units developed at the site.
Under the latest plan, 3,000 square feet of green space would be developed at the corner of Monroe and Aberdeen streets, and a total of 11,000 square feet of open space would be at the site, according to Tom Meador, president of the development firm. The group's plans previously called for about 8,000 square feet of green space at the site.
Before Carmichael's Steakhouse closed, the property had a large landscaped courtyard that was open to the public.
Residents previously submitted a petition to Ald. Danny Solis (25th) that argued their "beautifully maintained aesthetic on the block" should not be "obliterated to make way for yet another luxury apartment complex." Calling the courtyard a vital part of the neighborhood, residents repeated their request that more green space be maintained at the site at a meeting in April.
When a developer and the community are at odds, neither party "will get 100 percent of what they want," Solis said Monday night. The alderman, who chairs the city's Committee on Zoning, said he's satisfied with the concessions the developer has made.
"I want to point out this was not park property, it was private property," he said, referencing the courtyard. "You've got to give and take."
Neighbor Kelley Smith said the impending loss of the existing mature trees at the site was "emotionally devastating" to the West Loop neighborhood. She asked if the developer would consider preserving the existing courtyard instead of dedicating new green space at the site.
To maintain the exiting courtyard, Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group would have to build six stories instead of four stories on the site, Meador said, a plan he does not believe the community will support.
Under current plans, an 850-square-foot, one-bedroom unit would rent for about $2,400; a 1,050-square-foot, two-bedroom unit would rent for about $3,000 per month; and a 1,350-square-foot, three-bedroom unit would rent for about $3,300, representatives said.
The West Loop Community Organization and the West Central Association now support the developer's plan for the Carmichael's site, according to the group's respective presidents, Aviva Bowen and Armando Chacon.
Predemolition work will begin at the site Tuesday, Meador said. The development group wants to demolish the 68-year-old Carmichael's building right away because squatters have been setting up camp there, he said.
In November, the City Council approved a plan introduced by Solis to change the zoning of the block, effectively blocking the plan. The action ensured that any development at the site would have to go through a community process before moving forward.
If the development is approved and building permits are ultimately issued, Meador estimates the buildings would be completed in 13 months.
Meador said the development would be "condominium quality" but the developer does not currently have plans to convert the rentals to condos.
Carmichael's, a mainstay of the West Loop dining scene, closed in March after 18 years in business.
Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group is in part owned by Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The developer operates several other properties in the West Loop.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: