Friday, October 31, 2014

School of Art Institute Buys Large Lot at 609 S. State Street

The one remaining large vacant lot on south State street that's north of Roosevelt has a new owner, which points to some form of new building eventually (via Crains):
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's newest purchase isn't a masterpiece of the artistic canon, but something that's a bit more of a blank canvas.
SAIC, as the school is called, recently paid close to $24 million for a 56,000-square-foot parking lot at 609-673 S. State St., according to a person familiar with the deal. That's almost double the approximately $12.3 million its seller, a venture of Chicago real estate firm JRG Capital Partners LLC, paid for it two years ago, the person said.
SAIC plans a “new, purpose-built school building” on the site, it said in a statement posted to its website.
“The school has not yet identified when or precisely what it will build on the land, but in the short term, SAIC will benefit from the funds received while it remains a parking lot,” according to the statement, which did not specify the address of the acquisition.
As you may recall, at one point this lot was going to be a new YMCA headquarters but that was scrapped back in 2009.

The other currently vacant lot on this stretch (at 9th and State) appears to be moving forward with a plan to build a 30+ story a condo building.

Anyway, it doesn't sound like anything concrete is in the works for the School of Art Institute at this lot, but we will keep our ears open.

The Crains article also talks about how the South Loop has solidified itself as a key hub for students and schools:
The deal is yet another sign of how the South Loop has solidified itself as the key hub downtown for colleges and universities and the development projects that play off of them. 
A gaggle of schools, including Columbia College Chicago, Roosevelt University and others, operate classrooms and have students living in the area. 
More student- and college-fueled projects are on their way. Last week, Chicago developer CA Ventures LLC debuted a new student housing complex called Infinite Chicago at Jackson Boulevard and Wabash Avenue, a few blocks north of SAIC's new property. CA Ventures also is part of a group remaking the historic Old Colony building at Dearborn and Van Buren streets into student housing.  
Dennis McClendon, vice president of development and planning issues for South Loop Neighbors, a community rganization in the area, said it made sense for SAIC to buy the parking lot on State Street for a development. 
“There's no office market for that parcel. The residential market probably doesn't want to be right there, with a site backing up to the el,” he said, referring to the tracks on the east side of the parcel. “Institutional is kind of the perfect use for it, I think, from a real estate standpoint.”

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