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Check Out the Total Overhaul of the Mega Mall Replacement Project

By Paul Biasco | September 30, 2015 6:02am
 A completely revamped look for the Logan Crossing development includes a clock tower that would face toward the Illinois Centennial Monument.
A completely revamped look for the Logan Crossing development includes a clock tower that would face toward the Illinois Centennial Monument.
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LOGAN SQUARE — The proposed Logan's Crossing development, a project that aims to replace the old Mega Mall and reshape a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue, has been overhauled to make it smaller and change the facade from glass and steel to red brick.

The developer of the massive and long-awaited project made the changes after getting neighborhood feedback and with the hope of getting the development moving.

The look reduces the number of residential units, shrinks the height and strips back the modern design that was presented to the community last year.

"You don't see it very often where developers feel this type of sensitivity to the concerns of the community," said Scott Gendell, founder and president of Terraco, the developer.

The new proposal includes 240 residential units, down from the original proposal's 267.

It also lowers the height of the project to a maximum of 83 feet.

The updated proposal includes a bridge connecting the two residential portions of the project. [Terraco]

The hope is that the project bridges two distinct Logan Square business districts to the north and south of the site.

The plans for Logan's Crossing, 2500 N. Milwaukee Ave., include a grocery store, extensive retail space, a fitness center and a rooftop pool.

Paul Biasco discusses what some neighbors think of the changes:

The change from a modern look with prominent glass and metal asthetics to a mainly brick facade was another major change.

Click here to view a rendering of the original proposal

The latest proposal is not a done deal, according to Paul Sajovec, chief of staff to Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd.)

"We need to determine what concerns there are about the revisions and what changes need to be made," Sajovec said. "This assessment will dictate what type of outreach is appropriate moving forward."

Sajovec said the current proposal won't go before the Plan Commission and then the City Council's zoning committee until Waguespack determines it is ready to move forward. 

Both the developer and representatives from prominent neighborhood organization Logan Square Preservation agreed that the new look better fits the neighborhood.

"With the clock tower and the sky bridge, there's some elements that are very distinguished that will make this a project that is noteworthy for its sensitivity and aesthetics," Gendell said.

The new proposal also features a more prominent facade on the northwest end of the development that will face Logan Square and the Centennial Monument.

"I would characterize it as a faux loft design, which is an ode to the historical architecture that you found along Milwaukee Avenue," Gendell said.

He called the changes to the plan a communal effort and said he hopes to start construction on the project in the spring.

"The latest revisions are a dramatic improvement over the first proposal," said Andrew Schneider, president of Logan Square Preservation.

Schneider said the project is still too tall and dense, but was a step in the right direction.

"We hope to see further revisions," he said, calling the project "over-parked."

One suggestion by Schneider was to reduce the total number of parking spaces, which could allow the developer to eliminate a floor from the building while retaining the same, or close to the same, number of units.

The plan on the 2.7-acre lot includes two building connected by a sky bridge, a north building that is about 69 feet and a southern building that is 83 feet.

Logan's Crossing also includes 313 off-street parking spaces, the majority in a garage below the residential units, space for 125 bikes and 113,767 square feet of retail.

The developer plans to make 10 percent of the units affordable rather than opt out and pay into an affordable housing fund.

Gendell said the original plan was to buy out of providing affordable units.

The original proposal 

A rendering from the original Logan's Crossing proposal, which has since been discarded. [Terraco]

Affordable housing has been a heated topic in the neighborhood, especially with the influx of a number of high-end residential developments, including Logan's Crossing and the Twin Towers projects.

Representatives of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association initially encouraged the developer to view the 10 percent requirement as a "floor rather than a ceiling" to help keep families in the changing neighborhood.

The Mega Mall, a longtime indoor flea market slated for demolition, was sold to Terraco Real Estate last September.

The developer's purchase and plans for a more than $100 million investment in the project marks the end of Mega Mall's 20 years of existence.

The 40,000- to 45,000-square-foot grocery store proposed for the site has not been finalized, according to the developer.

Some in the neighborhood have suggested that an express-style shop such as a Target Express is in the works, but nothing has been confirmed.

Gendell has called the project, which is named after John Logan, the neighborhood's namesake, a crossroads in the community.

He said he anticipates working with Waguespack to make a few more minor changes to the plan, but anticipates this version of Logan's Crossing or something very similar to it will move forward.

"I think we did as good a job as possible in addressing [neighborhood] concerns," Gendell said. "Obviously there are feasibility thresholds that you get to where you basically have to either compromise or the project doesn’t go forward.”

Renderrings of proposed interiors of the project provided by Terraco when the project was first proposed. [Terraco]

A blue print of the latest proposed layout for Logan's Crossing. [32nd Ward]

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