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XChange Development Would Bring 22-Story Apartment Tower Near South Shore Cultural Center

Model of Transformation Design and Development is proposing a 153-apartment high-rise at 72nd Street and Exchange Avenue.

A rendering of the 22-story XChange development proposal for a vacant lot at 72nd Street and Exchange Avenue.
JGMA
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SOUTH SHORE — A high-rise apartment building is being proposed for a vacant lot near the South Shore Cultural Center, a project that was called for in a quality-of-life plan for the neighborhood unveiled late last year.

Developer Model of Transformation Design and Development wants to build an equitable transit-oriented development at 7162 S. Exchange Ave. near the South Shore Metra station. The plans call for a 22-story, 153-unit high-rise building on the property, which was once home to the Food Exchange supermarket.

The proposal, dubbed the XChange, is in its early stages as the developers pursue zoning approval from the city and financing for the project, they said. The estimated cost of the development is $61 million.

The developers presented their preliminary plans Monday to area council leaders with the Neighborhood Network Alliance.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The vacant lot at 72nd Street and Exchange Avenue in South Shore where development team Model of Transformation is proposing a 153-unit, mixed-use high-rise building, as seen on Oct. 14, 2022.

Model of Transformation will reapply for a Chicago Recovery Grant before the Feb. 24 deadline after being denied on a previous application and will pursue state capital grants, clean energy financing, community investments and crowdfunding among other funding options, the developers said Monday.

“There’s going to have to be some really creative financing to be able to make the numbers work, [including] subsidies,” said Gerald Williams, vice president for acquisition.

Williams is chair of the Neighborhood Network Alliance and former board president of the South Shore Chamber.

Credit: JGMA
A rendering of a common space in the proposed XChange high-rise.

About 80 percent of the apartments would be market rate, with the remaining 30 or so units being affordable per zoning requirements, Williams said. The proposal includes one- and two-bedroom apartments, and three-bedroom units may be added to the plans, he said.

“Attractive” amenities like balconies for every unit, a swimming pool and a rooftop restaurant and deck are planned, said Damon Stewart, vice president for legal affairs.

The first floor would include up to 15,000 square feet of retail space, and the property would include around 100 parking spaces for the 153 units, Stewart said.

“We want to bring density,” said Mark Buford, vice president for investments

All aspects of the proposal are pending, as “until we come out of zoning, we really don’t know the full dimensions and what the schematics are fully going to be, including amenities,” Williams said.

Model of Transformation submitted a 30-story proposal to city officials, but it scaled that plan back after it was rejected during an initial review process in October, Williams said.

The developers closed on the property at 72nd Street and Exchange Avenue, which was in foreclosure, for $250,000 in April 2021 after more than two years of negotiations, Buford said.

The South Shore Quality of Life plan includes a proposal similar to the XChange as one of its “focal projects,” or major development ideas that could improve residents’ quality of life in numerous ways. The plan was announced in October as a vision for the neighborhood’s growth over the next five years and beyond.

Several area council leaders urged the developers to realize the project’s potential to attract young adults to South Shore and to prepare local youth for real estate careers in the neighborhood at Monday’s meeting.

“With the younger generations, we really need to get their input,” said Linda Young, president of the Central South Shore council. “We need them at the table, because the things that I hear from them — they love the South Shore area, the proximity to the lake — but what they hate? No amenities.”

Some council affiliates also voiced concerns with the design, as its modern, colorful concept contrasts with the surrounding neighborhood.

The building is shaped like a beacon pointing east, with a black and gold color scheme which reflects Black American culture and an overall design that’s intended to be open and inviting to the community, the developers said.

The Model of Transformation team also includes Jemal King, vice president for marketing, whose company, Illinois Security Professionals, is contracted by South Shore’s Special Service Area No. 42, and President Johnny Mullins.

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