WRIGLEYVILLE — A decade in the making, the massive, $140 million transit-oriented development across from Wrigley Field is finally underway.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined developers and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) in breaking ground on Addison & Clark, a long-awaited mixed-use development formerly known as Addison Park on Clark.
Emanuel heralded the project as a "great example" of what the transit-oriented development ordinance was designed to encourage. Combined with the Chicago Cubs' renewed investment in Wrigley Field, the city's focus on transit-oriented developments is key to economic growth, the mayor said.
"That certainty and that growth allows us to continue to meet the obligations to our residents so we actually have the resources to enhance the quality of life throughout the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.
The Mexico-based Cinemex theater chain will open its first Chicago movie theater in the complex, developers announced Thursday. Operating as CMX, it's the seventh-largest theater chain in the world with 300 theaters.
The mainstream theater will arrive in a neighborhood mostly known for its small, eclectic theaters like the Mercury Theater and the Music Box.
It can be difficult to find screenings of major movies in the neighborhood, although the Vic's Brew and View and the Landmark Theater serve as solid options.
Developers expect to announce another large-scale tenant for the upper level of the complex in the next couple of months. A health club or entertainment business, like a bowling alley, would be ideal uses for the two remaining spots, said Tony Rossi, president of M&R Development.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) applauded Rossi and his fellow developers for their $250,000 commitment to renovate Juniper Park nearby.
"This is truly transit-oriented development adding density where it belongs — next to our first-class CTA system and the Addison station," Tunney said. "Addison & Clark will be a destination for both neighbors and visitors from far and wide."
The alderman also said he looked forward to Addison & Clark's 405 parking spaces creating some relief for public parking during Cubs games and other events at Wrigley Field.
Situated on an L-shaped, 2.3-acre property spanning Addison and Clark streets, Addison & Clark will include 148 apartments and 150,000 square feet of retail.
Chicago-based restaurants and bars are the target demographic for the first floor of retail, Rossi said.
After nine years, construction will begin this week and is expected to take two years. Meanwhile, Wrigley Field renovations and construction of the hotel where McDonald's once stood will continue at the same time.
By November, construction likely will require restricting the east lane of traffic on Addison Street, Rossi said. The blockage will last into the 2017 Cubs season, forcing a heavy flow of game day traffic to one lane of travel along the south side of Wrigley Field.
The project stalled for years over failed financing and foreclosure lawsuits until M&R Development and Bucksbaum Retail Properties took over.
The remaining businesses fell like dominoes, with 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Red Ivy, Mullen's and Salt & Pepper Diner closing this year. Starbucks reopened soon after in the former Harry Caray's Tavern at 3551 N. Sheffield Ave.
Addison & Clark developers promise an estimated 400 permanent jobs will be created, along with $7 million in tax revenue. Another 200 construction jobs are expected as a result of the project.
At its peak, Addison & Clark will stand 93 feet tall. Three floors of retail will be topped by two parking garage levels and four floors of apartments. Renderings of the project show 14 retail spaces from Addison and Sheffield to 3545 N. Clark St.
Luis Auto Shop and Sports World will remain open. While business owners said they haven't been invited back, developers pledged to give existing businesses the option to return after construction.
The development should be finished in summer 2018.
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