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Aug. 19, 2011

New Lives for Jones College Prep Building and Sheraton Hotel

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The Chicago Journal reports that construction has finally started at Jones College Prep’s new building on South State, on the old Pacific Garden Mission property. The estimated cost for the seven-story facility is $91 million, but the Chicago Public Schools, which manages over 600 public elementary and high schools in the city, is considering granting an extra $38 million to demolish the school’s old building and replace it with a new park, recreational space  and athletic facilities.

The new building is scheduled to open in fall 2013 and will reportedly offer a large reading terrace projected off the site’s library, a swimming pool on the top floor and a gym placed next to the terrace. About 900 square feet of classroom space will accommodate more than 1,200 students, as compared to just 800 that the old Jones College building held; also both students and college staff will have access to a parking space large enough for 68 cars. According to the newspaper, $124 million in property tax dollars is coming from the Near South TIF fund and the remaining $5 million will be covered by the Chicago Public Schools.

In other news, TribLocal announces that the Sheraton hotel in Arlington Heights, which was recently acquired by the Argent Group, could be converted from a decaying building into a luxury apartment community. The project, now called Arlington Downs,  was split in two phases that would take 18 months to complete. According to the plan, the rehabbed hotel building will include 200 apartment units, as well as 70,000 to 140,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor and a separate 108-room limited service hotel. The residential building will feature a health club, pool and recreational space. Quoted by the Journal & Topics Newspapers, Mark Matthews of the Argent Group said that rents are estimated to be around $1.65 per square foot, adding that stand-alone retail buildings such as grocery and drug stores, restaurants and additional rental and hotel buildings could be added in the future.

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