A newly proposed mixed-use building is slated to displace several popular State Street businesses with student off-campus housing, office and commercial space.
The proposal from Mullins Group and Core Campus Chicago is for a 12-story building, tentatively called The Hub, with more than 200 apartments, retail and office space and 150 to 200 above-ground parking spaces, Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said.
The developers plan to demolish the University Inn at 441 N. Frances St., an apartment building at 431 N. Frances St., a commercial building at 529 State St. and a large surface parking lot to make way for the new building, he said.
The new building would also displace the businesses currently occupying the desired space, including Husnu’s, a Turkish restaurant, Kabul, an Afghani and Mediterranean restaurant, and the recently-opened Roast Public House, Verveer said. The businesses are very concerned about their future, he said.
“Initially, it looks like the project will give much higher and better land use to this very vacant site,” Verveer said. “My main concern about this proposal is the potential negative impacts this has on the businesses in the area.”
Hamed Zafari, owner of Kabul Restaurant, said he found out about the project recently and did not have much time to prepare. If the project is approved, the restaurants will either go out of business or move to a new location, he said.
Most of the businesses in the area, including Kabul, plan to relocate, Zafari said. However, finding the right new location will be critical in making the transition, he said.
“The location we are at is one of the better ones in the city,” Zafari said. “Moving out of there will be difficult.”
While the developers said the restaurants have the option of renting commercial space in the new building, he said this is not a practical option because they would have to be out of businesses for a year and a half while the building is constructed.
Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2, added the cost of rent in the new building would also likely be much higher for the businesses than where they are currently located.
Zellers said she hopes none of the businesses leave the downtown area.
“I love those businesses,” Zellers said. “I would really hate to see the building not have a viable location for those and I hope [the developers] keep that in mind.”
In terms of land use, however, the building will be good for the downtown area, Verveer said.
“The University Inn, the building that houses Roast Public House and the surface parking lot are very vast, underutilized pieces of real estate,” Verveer said.
The project is the latest example of an increase in downtown development, particularly with regards to residential space, Zellers said. She added the space “is another opportunity for the city.”
The developers and community members are still measuring the potential impact of the project, Verveer said, and the next step for the project is addressing potential public concerns with the building. The affected State Street business owners will be present at the neighborhood meeting Monday, April 29, he said.