Saturday, January 16, 2010

A quick post for my local readers...

Ok, folks, so I don't have much time to write, but I wanted to post quickly that Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the city and university have (finally!) announced the winner of the bid to re-develop Harper Court. The lucky company is called Vermillion and, according to the article, they're planning to build a large mix-used facility and boutique hotel called Hotel Indigo. Read the full article here: Vermilion wins bid to demolish Harper Court, redevelop site

To get everyone caught up, Harper Court is an aging strip-mall-like structure on 52nd/53rd streets that housed the famous, now-defunct Dixie Kitchen and remains home to the Calypso Cafe and a handful of other Hyde Park businesses. The University purchased the complex a while back and has been working with the city to plan a large-scale "redevelopment project" (i.e. a plan to knock down and replaced the complex with something shiny & new). Several companies have made bids to win the contract to develop the space (including the company that worked on Block 37 downtown) and most proposed plans have included mid-rise structures, a gym, movie theaters, and a hotel. (See the university-run 53rd Street Blog for more history).

Long story short, big changes are about to come to Hyde Park and I think a lot of locals, myself included, have some mixed feelings about what they would like to see happen (I'll post more about this later...) First, though, I'd love to hear from you. How do you feel about the redevelopment project? What would you like to see happen? What concerns do you have?


  1. A new cinema and a nice hotel sound like excellent additions to the neighborhood, but I hope to God that the development doesn't look like what they've done to Lake Street in downtown Oak Park. That's to say, totally overbuilt and disproportionate to the scale of the rest of the street...

  2. I agree completely. I checked out the company's website, and it looks like their specialty may be developments on state school college campuses. All of the pics show pretty small-scale, but collegiate looking facilities. Not sure if that's the best fit for Hyde Park...