FULTON MARKET — Some neighbors said they are worried a new 14-story office building planned in Fulton Market could lead to problems because of its proximity to the Metra tracks.
Prominent developer Sterling Bay wants to build a 227-foot-tall office building at 1200 W. Carroll Ave., officials said at a community meeting Wednesday night. Nearly 500,000 square feet of office space, ground-floor retail and 90 parking spots are planned at the corner of West Carroll and North Racine avenues, said Sterling Bay attorney Fred Krol.
Designed by Gensler Architecture, the building would replace a one-story building and warehouse. The site is bound by the Metra tracks to the north, Racine on the east, Carroll to the south and a building to the west.
Under plans, the building would also include an amenity deck with a fitness center for tenants and an outdoor plaza.
While resident Levar Hoard, an urban planner and designer who curated the nearby B_Line, lauded the building’s design, he worried about the site’s safety. Cars would enter the building to park from Racine Avenue, just south of the Metra tracks. Pedestrians would enter from Carroll Avenue.
Hoard suggested developers consider adding another entrance to alleviate congestion, particularly during rush hour traffic when cyclists, pedestrians, cars and trains are all traveling through the area. Otherwise, traffic could back up over the Metra tracks, becoming a safety hazard.
Other residents shared similar concerns about the site’s parking plan and entrance.
Krol said the development team is aware of neighbors’ concerns and are working to address them. He noted Metra ultimately controls the tracks.
“We hear your concern, we understand the concern. We heard the concern in a series of community meetings that I’ve been to …We are working to help to address it,” Krol said.
As the developer builds other buildings in the area, Sterling Bay has committed to paying $750,000 towards a future Metra signal safety improvement project.
Just south of the Sterling Bay’s proposed office building, Ryan Companies and partner IBT Group plan to build two office towers, 18 and 14 stories tall, at 1200 W. Fulton Market.
Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) said he is working with community groups to set up a meeting with the Chicago Department of Transportation on how they can alleviate traffic congestion in the booming area. Converting some two-way streets into one-way streets could help traffic flow, he said.
During the meeting, neighbor Greg Schapps called on the development team, who has developed several buildings in the area across the Fulton Market, to fund a community amenity like a dog park. The developer donated a site for the West Loop library at 118 N. Aberdeen St.
Krol said the team would look into it.
West Central Association President Armando Chacon said they have yet to issue an opinion on the project.
Burnett said he is considering residents’ concerns about the project and has yet to issue his support.
If approved, Sterling Bay would pay $4.3 million into the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and a $730,000 city conversion fee.
Last fall, the developer received city approval to build an 18-story office tower at 1000 W. Carroll Ave. and an 11-story office building at 345 N. Morgan St. in the neighborhood.
The developer is currently working on three office towers north of the proposed 19-story Thor Equities tower: a 20-story building at 330 N. Green St.; a 19-story building at the old Coyne College parking lot, 333 N. Green St.; and a 21-story building at 360 N. Green St.
If approved, Sterling Bay aims to start building the project in 2022.
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