Excerpts from chicagocurbed.com:

highrise propsed to replace fire station

Rendering of high-rise with fire station. City of Chicago

The City of Chicago took the wraps off of a proposal to replace River North’s Engine Co. 42 fire house at the southwest corner of Illinois and Dearborn with a new state-of-the-art facility topped by a new mixed-use high-rise. Much like the city’s plan to combine public libraries with affordable housing in new developments slated for Chicago’s West Ridge, Little Italy, and Irving Park neighborhoods, the River North plan would be a partnership that brings together both civic and private interests.

As proposed, the existing fire house at 55 W. Illinois Street would be replaced with a $20.2 million station financed by local developer Friedman Properties. When completed, the old structure would be demolished and replaced by up to 614,000 square feet of office and mixed-use space in a new tower designed by Chicago architecture firm DLR Group.

While a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Friedman and the City of Chicago shows a grainy image of the glassy skyscraper, it’s been communicated that the building’s final design is still being refined. The city is also entertaining alternative bids from other potential development partners for a 30-day period from the time the terms of the Friedman deal are posted online.

As it stands now, Friedman would pay the city $5 million to acquire the current firehouse site and an adjacent alley to build the tower. The parcel is currently zoned DX-7 Downtown Mixed-Use and could see the developer pay as much as $10 million into Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus system for additional zoning rights. Under that system, the funds would then be redistributed to projects in areas of the city that currently see little investment.

So far no approvals for the project have been granted and it will need to go through the traditional channels such as community outreach meetings and a trip before the Chicago Plan Commission and City Council. According to an official release, the city expects to receive roughly $4.4 million in new annual real estate taxes from the development.

proposed high-rise to replace Chicago fire station

A conceptual (and poorly scanned) rendering from the MOU drafted by the city and Friedman. City of Chicago/DLR Group

thanks Austin & Dennis

Excerpts from chicagobusiness.com:

Developer Albert Friedman would build a new River North firehouse for the Chicago Fire Department topped by a big office and mixed-use tower under a deal he just reached with city officials.

Friedman plans the 614,000-square-foot project immediately west of the existing Engine Co. 42 station at 55 W. Illinois St., which would be replaced, according to a statement from the city.

The deal represents an unusual private-public partnership that gives the city what it wants—a new state-of-the-art firehouse, paid for by Friedman—and the Chicago developer what he wants, a big business opportunity. One of the largest landlords in River North, Friedman led a joint venture that built a three-hotel, 657-room project just north of the fire station a few years ago.

Designed by Chicago-based architecture firm DLR Group, the new tower would add to the growing forest of high-rises in River North, where apartment developers have been especially busy amid a hot market for rental housing. But demand for office space in River North is strong too, and Friedman doesn’t face as much competition for office tenants there as he would for apartment dwellers.

Friedman, chairman and CEO of Friedman Properties, was out of town and unavailable for comment, according to a spokesman.

“As current owners of the remaining parcels on this block and a significant share of the surrounding property, we have a vested interest in developing the property in a manner that benefits the CFD, the neighboring properties and the City as a whole,” Friedman Properties said in a statement. “We look forward to working with all involved parties to advance this project.”

Friedman and the city have signed a memorandum of understanding covering the project, and the city will consider competing proposals for the site from other developers for a 30-day period. Under his deal with the city, Friedman would build and pay for the new $20.2 million fire house and pay the city $5 million for the existing firehouse, which opened in 1968 and would be torn down, according to the city’s statement.

Friedman has agreed to contribute $10 million to the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus program, a fund that developers pay into to receive zoning changes from the city, which uses the money to pay for neighborhood development, the statement said. The city has agreed to negotiate a redevelopment agreement with Friedman for the project, according to the memorandum.

“This project has the potential to be a unique partnership that could enhance a prime development location while providing a new home for Chicago’s bravest,” downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, said in the city’s statement.

In addition to the three-hotel project at Illinois and Clark streets, Friedman’s River North holdings include the SpringHill Suites/Residence Inn at 410 N. Dearborn, the Medinah Temple, at 600 N. Wabash Ave., and the Reid Murdoch Center, a vintage office building at 325 N. LaSalle St.

Friedman also plans a 500-room hotel just north of the Reid Murdoch property and is a partner in an eight-story hotel under construction at 530 N. LaSalle St. that is believed to be a Moxy Hotel by Marriott.

thanks Scott