Urban Infill Injects Modern Touches In Enclaves Of Historic Charm

Real Estate

When done right, urban infill residential developments provide buyers and renters an enviable mix. By virtue of their recency, these buildings deliver luxuries and amenities older buildings can’t deliver.

Yet the neighborhoods in which they’re built are frequently historic, walkable enclaves boasting an authentic ambience today’s urbanites crave. The result is the best of both worlds for the residents who ultimately opt to lease there. That these infill developments often replace community eyesores and also contribute to the density that imbues urban neighborhoods with character provides an extra dividend.

It’d be difficult to imagine many more fitting neighborhoods for infill development than Chicago’s Lakeview bailiwick, wedged between Lincoln Park to the south and Wrigleyville to the north along Lake Michigan’s shores. With its proximity to the lake, Lincoln Park, public transportation and both ball games and concerts at Wrigley Field, it’s an area that could entice many more residents if sufficient housing existed.

The idea of returning the site of a shuttered Treasure Island supermarket on Broadway in Lakeview to a community asset appealed to design-driven real estate development firm Optima, Inc., which developed Optima Lakeview on the site. The 198-unit building, which incorporates 14,000 square feet of street-level retail, features a seven-story atrium with vertical landscaping, rooftop Skydeck with the area’s only year-round rooftop pool and a 2,000 square-foot heated dog park.

“Lakeview residents have cited the development’s design, amenities, location and resident programming as key factors, allowing them to maintain their active lifestyles in a neighborhood they love,” says David Hovey, Jr. AIA, president, chief operating officer and principal architect at Optima.

Additional infill

From the University of Tampa to Tampa Riverwalk and its adjacency to Ybor City, Downtown Tampa has much to offer those flooding into the largest city on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Urban infill in the North Hyde Park area near downtown offers renters access to the central business district without center city pricetags.

Wingspan Development Group and ABC Capital Group are developing there the 251-unit NICHE at North Hyde Park apartment community, as well as Jade at North Hyde Park, where 192 units are arrayed above thousands of square feet of ground-floor retail space and two restaurants.

In Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill, a past-its-prime Safeway market on a prominent corner yielded to Beckert’s Park, a redevelopment designed by BKV Group. Built on 2.75 acres, the mixed-use project provides 325 upscale apartments and a new and enhanced Safeway sprawling across 60,000 square feet. Also incorporated into the development are 8,000 square feet of commercial space. BKV Group honored Capitol Hill’s historic character and ensured project success by designing a façade replicating a cluster of small buildings of the type that once defined the district’s streetscape.

Back in Chicago

Returning to the Windy City, we find Westerly, a Fifield Companies infill development. The developer teamed with FitzGerald Associates Architects to create a 188-apartment mid-rise building on a unique triangular-shaped parcel in the city’s River West nook just northwest of the Loop. Included are 2,400 square feet of commercial space along with pocket park and dog run open to the public. Fifield Companies leveraged Westerly’s distinctive profile to showcase custom-commissioned murals upon its walls.

Another Fiffield Infill development, Logan Apartments, has risen in the historic Logan Square neighborhood along the CTA Blue Line. A new 220-unit mixed-use development from Fifield Companies, Logan Apartments sits along a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue known as the Hipster Highway. In its upscale newness, the property is light years away from the aging Discount Mega Mall indoor flea market it replaced. Serving as anchor is a small-format, 27,000-square-foot Target, which is joined by a blend of retail and service businesses that include a Korean barbecue restaurant and a medical clinic.

“We knew this development offered an exceptional opportunity to address the increasing demand for upscale rental in the area, as well as satisfy some critical community needs by bringing the right retail to the ground-floor commercial space,” said Lindsey Senn, executive vice president, finance and development, at Fifield Companies, which teamed with partner Terraco Real Estate on the development.

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