A rendering illustrates the planned design of the new building at 3211 S. Archer Ave.

Developer Plans 34-Unit Condo Building on Archer Avenue

Published October 18, 2018

Construction is set to begin in spring 2019 on a 34-unit condo building at 3211 S. Archer Ave., according to a presentation from the builder and architect at the October 17 meeting of the McKinley Park Development Council. Architect Ron Vari Jr. explained the project's setup, design plans and changes in market focus as planning has moved toward breaking ground on the currently vacant property spanning three lots along Archer Avenue.

Notably, original building plans had to change to accommodate demand for smaller condos over larger, more luxurious residences. "The original units were too large for the area," Vari said.

Ron Vari Jr 3211 S Archer Ave MPDC meeting 20181017Architect Ron Vari Jr. of R. Vari & Associates discusses the planned development at the development council meeting on October 17.The original plans called for a five-story building with 28 units; the current plans reduce the building height to four stories, which will contain 34 units, Vari said. Of these, two units will be one bedroom, 22 units will be two bedrooms, eight will be three bedrooms and two will be four bedrooms. Twenty-eight off-street parking spots are integrated into the building via an indoor garage.

Builder and property owner Jimmy Hsu also attended the meeting to answer questions and speak about the build-out and the project's development process. Both Vari and Hsu addressed questions on the potential of first-floor, street-facing retail space in the building: This is something they originally investigated and tried to accommodate. However, rents per square foot are so low in the McKinley Park neighborhood, it was not economically possible to include retail space in this development, Vari said.

Both Vari and Hsu noted how the building would conform to the City of Chicago's Affordable Requirements Ordinance, including offering the required percentage of condo units to program participants. If affordable units remain unsold, Hsu said they would exercise their option to acquire the units as the ordinance allows.

Vari said that reducing the building's height to four stories allowed a lot of cost savings, since steel-truss floors and ceilings would have been required for five stories, and a four-story building only requires wood. Both he and Hsu noted the project's high-quality building materials, and Vari confirmed an audience member's question that problematic split-face cinderblock is not being used for construction.

Hsu said he remains interested in more development on this stretch of Archer Avenue and owns property a few lots down he hopes to develop after acquiring an adjacent lot. He noted how the pending Sky River Residences across the street in the former C&J Auto Parts lot are nearly sold out.

Vari said the original planned project at 3211 S. Archer Ave. required a zoning change for the property, which was granted with the assistance of 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas

Construction on the new condo building is planned to be completed in the fall of 2020.

3211 S Archer Ave vacant lot 20181017Three currently vacant lots comprise the building site for the planned 34-unit condo building at 3211 S. Archer Ave.


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