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New City Mega-Complex Shows Chicago Is 'On the Move,' Mayor Says

By Mina Bloom | October 30, 2015 2:41pm | Updated on November 2, 2015 9:26am
 Mayor Rahm Emanuel making remarks at the grand opening of the mega-complex New City on Friday.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel making remarks at the grand opening of the mega-complex New City on Friday.
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DNAinfo/Mina Bloom

LINCOLN PARK — At the grand opening of the New City mega-complex, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the $275 million development a "signal" that private companies want to invest in the city. 

"People have this view of the city of Chicago. It's on the move. It's moving forward," Emanuel told a crowd in the open plaza by one of the development's many retailers, Dick's Sporting Goods, 1538 N. Clybourn Ave., Friday morning.

He was joined by Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) and the project developers, Michael Drew with Structured Development and John Bucksbaum with Bucksbaum Retail Properties.

"It [shows] your confidence in a city that's meeting its challenges head on and building a stronger, more vibrant future," he added, speaking to the developers.

Emanuel's remarks came after Drew said New City is an example of what private developers can do with the support of the city. 

"The mayor will appreciate that this was done without a single dollar of TIF [tax increment financing]," Drew said, prompting Emanuel to stand up and shake his hand.

Mina Bloom says neighbors have mixed reactions to the giant project:

The 8½-acre project includes 380,000 square feet of retail space, a 1,100-car parking garage and a 19-story tower with 199 apartment units. It's the largest project Structured Development has ever undertaken.

The land used to be the home of New City YMCA, which brought together residents from Cabrini-Green and affluent Lincoln Park. But when the housing development was torn down in the 1990s, membership at the YMCA began to dwindle. In 2007, the New City YMCA was torn down, and Structured Development bought the land to build a new development in its place. The project broke ground in 2013.

Several retailers and restaurants already are open or are about to open. The city's largest Mariano's opened in the complex earlier this week. Eateries such as Earl's Kitchen & Bar, Yard House and Nando's Peri-Peri all opened recently. Kings Bowl and ArcLight Cinemas both aim to open in early November. 

Bucksbaum of Bucksbaum Retail Properties announced that Saks OFF 5th will be joining the development's roster of retailers in the spring.

Of the 199 apartments, about 60 have been rented so far, Drew said. The modern apartment building offers studios, convertible units, one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms and three-bedrooms. Studios start at around $1,800.  

Developer Peter Holsten also is planning to build a project just south of New City that will include 20 affordable units and 20 public housing units, which was one of the conditions Burnett Jr. set when he approved the mega-complex. 

Burnett told DNAinfo Chicago that Holsten is applying for tax credits from the city and working on getting funding from the Chicago Housing Authority, but he's short right now.

Burnett is proposing that LG Development Group include fewer affordable housing units in its proposed project in the 1400 block of North Orleans Street and give the money it would've used toward those units to Holsten's project. That amount is $2.5 million, Burnett said.

"Our goal is to make sure that we bring opportunities to the community, but also that we don't leave anybody behind," Burnett said.

Check out the view from the New City apartment building:

The view from the penthouse apartment. [All photos DNAinfo/Mina Bloom]

The view from the rooftop pool.

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