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A new vision for Wicker Park - Developer plans 33 condos
chicago Journal
by Timothy Inklebarger 2/14/08

The Vision development is expected to include 33 condos, about 9,000 square feet of commercial space and roughly 111 parking spots.

A 33,000-square-foot mixed-use development is planned for a vacant lot just east of the MB Financial bank at the corner of Ashland and Division.

The complex by RDM Development will include 33 luxury condominiums and about 9,000 feet of new commercial space. It also will include about 111 surface and underground parking spots.

RDM president Mike Ansani said construction crews have begun foundation work at the site at 1624 W. Division, and the company is in the process of getting building permits for the project. He said the commercial space could consist of one large shop or three smaller ones

The site now serves as a parking lot for MB Financial and other businesses. Ansani said he hopes to have the residential space available by the summer of 2009.

The corner has been under the scrutiny of community groups and local business organizations in recent months because of plans by Interra Vision Development to build a freestanding single-story Walgreens across the street at 1601 W. Division. A shuttered Pizza Hut restaurant is currently at that site.

Neighbors have argued that the site would be better suited for a proposal like RDM's. They argue that the transit-oriented site is better suited for a large development that anchors the corner and provides a gateway to the Division Street commercial corridor.

Interra Vision says a residential development is not feasible at that corner.

Ansani said he inquired about developing parcels across the street from his so-called Vision development but was unsuccessful.

"We think that our development is going to start this corner off and we would like to capitalize on that, but right now I don't believe that those parcels are available for purchase," he said.

Ansani said the company is still finalizing the design of the units, but condos will run about $459,000 to $629,000.

Karen Goodman Cable, a vice president of marketing for RDM, said the units will be roughly 1,300 square feet to over 2,000 square feet. She said each unit will also include luxury appliances and finishes such as Wolf ovens, Fisher & Paykel dishwashers and Lieber refrigerators.

"There's so much going on in terms of retail and the restaurants in the neighborhood that bringing in more residential to this area will really enhance it," she said.

Ansani said he believes more residential foot traffic on the corner will give the area a safer feel.

"It's a critical point," Ansani said. "It puts eyes and ears on the neighborhood. It just helps to add more people and it becomes more vibrant."

For more information, visit www.rdmhomes.com.

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