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Hyde Park's Big Leap

Hyde Park's Big Leap

President Obama's neighborhood will hit a new milestone in a long-planned resurgence next Friday (day after Thanksgiving, that is). Clothier Akira will launch its 8,000 SF flagship in a retail section of 53rd Street undergoing a $250M revitalization led by the University of Chicago. The opening of the Harper Theater will follow soon.

U of C’s VP for CRE Jim Hennessey

“We’re over the hump with retailers," U of C VP for CRE Jim Hennessey tells us. He's referring to four University-owned retail properties that reached 100% occupancy in the past few weeks. Meanwhile, Harper Court Partners, the private developer building the companion 600k SF Harper Court project, says it passed 90% pre-leasing for its three retail and commercial buildings. The neighborhood has long lacked a critical mass of shopping and other creature comforts, he says. Four years after the University partnered with the city to get the project rolling, Harper Court topped out just two weeks ago. It will have a 12-story office building occupied by U of C; a Hyatt Place hotel, and 53k SF of ground-level retail. 

Reznick (CohnDebut) MCHI
Antheus founder Eli Ungar
As Hyde Park’s largest landlord, U of C is attracting new investment and businesses, which pave the way for multifamily owners to renovate and develop. “By showing the world that there’s purchasing power here, the university is making it easy to succeed,” says Antheus Capital founder Eli Ungar (above), now Hyde Park’s second-largest landlord. Recently, the $114M City Hyde Park building that he’s developing—182 apartments with 110k SF of retailwon city approval for a TIF. With New Market Tax credits, public sources will provide nearly 20% of financing for the project, which has already signed Whole Foods as an anchor. About 52% of the retail space is committed, Eli says.
City Hyde Park
Here's the rendering of City Hyde Park, designed by Studio Gang's Jeanne Gang. New multifamily owners like Antheus— which has amassed a portfolio of 4,000 Hyde Park rental apartments—and TLC Management, which has also expanded its area holdings, have the financial heft to make large-scale improvements that influence the market and attract new residents, says Appraisal Research Counselors VP Ron DeVries. The neighborhood is now ready for a luxury building like City Hyde Park, Eli says . His plan: lease the remaining retail, secure the rest of the financing, and start 18 months of construction mid-’13. (Pretty ambitious considering we're staring at the Mayan apocalypse.)