35-story tower proposed for Near North Side would feature 75 luxury condos

The City Council on Wednesday received a proposal from a New York investment firm to build a 35-story condominium building at 40 W. Oak St. targeted to wealthy buyers.

The proposal from Nahla Capital came in a zoning amendment. Its introduction starts a review process that will include a Chicago Plan Commission hearing, with the City Council having final approval.

The site is at the northwest corner of Oak and Dearborn streets, immediately north of the Newberry Library. The building would replace a parking structure that serves the Warren Barr Gold Coast rehabilitation center, which would remain.

It would include 75 condo units and 160 parking spaces, some of which would be reserved for the Warren Barr center. The design was by Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange, well known for posh residential high-rises from the city’s construction boom early in the 21st century.

The development has been described to neighborhood groups as a luxury condo project, meaning that the investors may be bucking a market that has become difficult for high-end deals. Most residential construction in the downtown area still favors rental buildings, although that trend is under pressure too.

Ald. Brian Hopkins, whose 2nd Ward includes the site, expressed qualified support for the project. He said the developer reduced the height and number of units after criticism at neighborhood forums.

“All of the changes that I have requested have been made,” Hopkins said. Pending a technical review of design details by city agencies, he said, “They are on the path to approval.”

Nahla Managing Principal Genghis Hadi did not respond to a message requesting comment. His firm’s website lists developments in Manhattan, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Beverly Hills and Hollywood, but none in Chicago.

In the zoning proposal, Nahla agreed to abide by affordable-housing rules by providing almost $1.9 million to build eight units for lower-income residents at another location to be determined. Hopkins also said the project will generate money for the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, which supports commercial revitalization on the South and West sides.

Source: Chicago Sun Times

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