Redevelopment efforts are transforming 53rd Street in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.
The New York Times
October 23, 2012
By Robert Sharoff
”CHICAGO — The University of Chicago is midway through what it characterizes as a “once in a generation” community redevelopment effort aimed at revitalizing 53rd Street, a blighted retail district several blocks north of its historic Hyde Park campus here.
The $250 million project includes Harper Court, a new 600,000-square-foot, mixed-use project at the corner of 53rd Street and South Lake Park Avenue, along with the renovation and restoration of the adjacent Harper Theater complex, which consists of a long-closed historic movie theater as well as retail and office space. In addition, the university is renovating several other nearby retail properties and is in the early stages of planning a second mixed-use project on a site it owns further up the street.”
Members of the Harper Court development team visited students at Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., Friday to talk to 7th and 8th graders about the development process of Harper Court.
The Harper Court development team met with the students, who are to build a new development in a neighborhood. Chris Dillion, a manager of Harper Court Partners LLC; Sophie Bidek, architect from Hartshorne Plunkard, and Ed Small, president of Smart Hotels, were at the school.
The idea for this meeting came from Kimberly Brown, a Kenwood parent who thought the students— whose end-of-the-school-year assignment will be to explain what they would build in the neighborhood if they had a $1-million budget and why — would benefit from learning more about the real-life development project happening about two blocks away.
Construction at the former site of Harper Court will turn to above ground building in the coming weeks, including work on a new hotel. The Hyde Park Hyatt Place will be the neighborhood’s first new hotel in decades.
Progress is quietly being made on its construction, as workers have spent the past month working on underground facilities, including an underground parking garage.
The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce hosted a meeting last Thursday night for further information of the construction process and what the hotel would offer upon completion. Ed Small, president of Smart Hotels, presented, along with CEO Jon Adams.