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City issues developers’ plans for South Loop block

The four competing proposals emphasize affordable housing, a carbon-neutral design and money for Pritzker Park.

Assemble Chicago’s proposed 20-story building is shown in this rendering across the L tracks from the Harold Washington Library.
Assemble Chicago’s proposed 20-story building is shown in this rendering across the L tracks from the Harold Washington Library.
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Four development teams will compete for the right to build on a South Loop block near the Harold Washington Library, possibly delivering Chicago’s first carbon-neutral high-rise, city officials said Thursday.

The proposals call for residential buildings that include units for lower-income renters, plus other commercial uses. The site runs northeast from Van Buren Street and Plymouth Court and alongside Pritzker Park on State Street, which would get improvement funds in the deal.

The Department of Planning and Development called for development ideas for the site last year as part of its entry in an international competition to promote sustainable cities. Officials plan a public Zoom meeting May 3 to discuss the proposals and say all have a net-zero carbon goal. The department hopes to pick a winner later this spring.

The favored entry would have public hearings for zoning and sales terms for the city-owned property. The site includes a parking garage that would come down. No parking space is proposed because the property is so close to public transportation.

The responses “reflect a strong desire by the development community to create architecturally innovative, sustainable projects that bring affordable and workforce housing options and other public benefits to the Loop,” Planning Commissioner Maurice Cox said.

The four submissions are:

• Assemble Chicago, with a $102 million proposal for 207 residences and a food hall for minority-owned restaurants, a produce grocer and medical clinic. The units would be priced for renters with 30% to 80% of the area’s median income. Pritzker Park would get $2 million. The large team includes Community Builders and Studio Gang architects.

• Common Good Collaborative, with a $99.9 million proposal for 305 residences, a community center and artisan exchange. Most units would have income limits and some will be market-rate. Pritzker Park would get $2 million. The team includes Lendlease, KMA Management and A Safe Haven Foundation.

The proposal from Common Good Collaborative.
The proposal from Common Good Collaborative.
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• EcoVIBE, with a $128.5 million proposal for 224 residences, a café, gallery and medical clinic. Units would have income limits and 30% would be for artists or people in creative fields. Pritzker Park would get $1.25 million. The team includes DL3 Realty Advisors, City Pads and Perkins & Will.

A rendering of the EcoVIBE proposal.
A rendering of the EcoVIBE proposal.
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• Inspiration Exchange, with a $42 million proposal for 81 studios, community space and a medical clinic. Half would be for homeless people; the rest, for singles or couples earning 30% to 60% of the region’s median income. Pritzker Park would get $100,000. The team includes Turnstone Development and Inspiration Corp.

The Inspiration Exchange plan for the South Loop.
The Inspiration Exchange plan for the South Loop.
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The city has posted additional details about the responses on its web site.

The area’s current median income as posted by the federal government is $65,300 for a single person and $93,200 for a family of four.