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Lake Meadows 30-Year Redevelopment Plans Get City Approval

By  Sam Cholke and Ted Cox | February 19, 2016 6:14am 

 The redevelopment of Lake Meadows will start with several new retail shops built at the shopping center.
The redevelopment of Lake Meadows will start with several new retail shops built at the shopping center.
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Courtesy of Draper & Kramer

CITY HALL — A 30-years-long project to dramatically reshape Lake Meadows took its first small steps through the city approval process on Thursday.

The Chicago Plan Commission approved plans for a new grocery store and smaller retail shops and four new residential buildings ranging in height from seven to 12 stories.

Developer Draper & Kramer has been planning since 2010 to redevelop the 70-acre Lake Meadows apartments and shopping center, but until now had not done much beyond $11.9 million in renovations to the shopping center at 35th Street and Martin Luther King Drive.

The Plan Commission on Thursday approved the first new construction on the shopping center. The project is expected to ramp up in coming years, remaking the street grid and adding many new high-rises near King Drive between 31st and 35th streets.

 The 30-year plan to redevelop Lake Meadows has started modestly with redoing the facade of some of the existing shopping center.
The 30-year plan to redevelop Lake Meadows has started modestly with redoing the facade of some of the existing shopping center.
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Draper & Kramer

Under the plan, the current Jewel grocery store will be razed and rebuilt as a 50,000-square-foot store on the first floor of two 12-story residential towers.

The plan also calls for two seven-story residential buildings on sections of a parking lot on the west side of Rhodes Avenue between 33rd Place and 35th Street.

The redevelopment is expected to start modestly with five new retail buildings near King Drive.

Ald. Will Burns (4th) said the developers had done “a tremendous job” in reimagining the shopping center, and he congratulated the developers for their persistent work over the years “revitalizing the 4th Ward.”

The existing four 22-story and five 12-story high-rises, which residents once feared would be demolished, are expected to be renovated as the shopping center is renovated and expanded.

Eventually, the developers plan to vastly reshape Lake Meadows by reconnecting roads like 33rd Street and straightening out Rhodes Avenue to better serve a network of new retail and residential buildings that will end with four high-rises on the current tennis courts that could reach up to 60 stories tall.

The developer will have to return to the Plan Commission for each of the new sections it hopes to develop. The city only approved work on the shopping center on Thursday.

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