CHICAGO, IL - A rejuvenated Harper Court development will debut in Hyde Park in 2013, providing the community with an abundance of new job opportunities and exciting new options for dining, entertainment and shopping – and the University of Chicago with a major new office tower. Last month, a joint venture between the project’s local developer, Harper Court Partners, LLC, and Los Angeles based Canyon Johnson Urban Fund (CJUF) closed a $65 million construction loan with Citi Community Capital (CCC), a division of Citigroup. The PrivateBank, a local subsidiary of PrivateBancorp has entered into a participation agreement with Citi, through which it will provide a significant portion of the construction financing. The mixed-use project represents over $106 million of investment in the local area and collaboration between several public and private entities that provided equity, land and financing to bring a mix of commercial office, retail, residential and hospitality uses to a 3.3 acre site at the corner of 53rd Street and South Lake Park Avenue.
Specializing in community reinvestment projects, Citi Community Capital was a logical financial partner for the project. “Citi Community Capital recognized the transformative nature this project will have on Hyde Park,” said Douglas R. Leezer, a Director at Citi Community Capital. “The University of Chicago and the City of Chicago have shown tremendous leadership that we believe will lead to a compelling redevelopment effort – injecting fresh vitality into one of Chicago’s most vibrant communities.”
“The PrivateBank is proud to support the growth and vitality of Chicago’s neighborhoods by helping to move projects such as Harper Court from idea to reality,” said Karen Case, President of Commercial Real Estate Banking at The PrivateBank.
The University of Chicago is credited as the primary driver behind the project, seeking, in part, to enhance the retail environment along 53rd Street. Earlier this summer the University of Chicago executed a 150,000 square foot lease for the project’s office tower, anticipated to be among the largest office leases signed in Chicago in 2011. Combined with LA Fitness, one of the project’s retail anchors, the project’s preleasing level is currently 83%. In March, the developer partnered with SMART Hotels LLC, which will develop the Hyatt Place Hotel as one part of the multi-phased development.
This loan is part of a broader Citi for Cities initiative to partner with cities on their urban transformation goals. “The Harper Court project is a prime example of Citi’s efforts to enable cities to become more efficient by providing financing that facilitates commerce and modernization, and by empowering citizens to access services that enhance liveability and prosperity,” added Leezer.
The build-out of Harper Court is projected to create 800 construction jobs, 350 permanent retail jobs, and 150 permanent hospitality jobs. Approximately 500 employees from the University of Chicago will work in the project’s office tower upon completion and over 28% of qualified project costs will be performed by minority and women-owned businesses.
Located within walking distance to the University of Chicago and University of Chicago Hospitals, Harper Court is situated in a neighborhood populated by thousands of students and employees. The site is located near several local attractions including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House and Promontory Point, and also enjoys access to several major transportation lines. The nearby Metra train station and buses on the CTA routes #15 and #28 provide direct transportation to the Chicago Central Business District, just seven miles from the property.