Summit Design + Build Hits Restart on Stalled Chicago Apartment Project

Chicago--Development of the luxury apartment building in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood is back underway now that Summit Design + Build L.L.C. has stepped in and taken the construction reins.

Chicago–After about a year of activity, hammers stopped hitting nails at 1846 W. Division St. in 2009, but development of the luxury apartment building in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood is back underway now that Summit Design + Build L.L.C. has stepped in and taken the construction reins.

A development company rescued the project in 2010, and tapped Summit to serve as general contractor and pick up where the previous developer and construction team had left off–sort of. As it turned out, nearly two years of inactivity, which left the structure at the mercy of the climate and other elements, and a set of plans that needed retooling put Summit in the position of having to backtrack.

“We did months of due diligence to figure out whether the structure was left in a position that we could build on,” Mark Heffron, senior project manager with Summit, tells MHN. “We had a series of engineers that had to be involved that were not typical to the development process. Specialists had to determine if the wood was degraded, what could go and what could stay.”

It was concluded that while 95 percent of the steel and building frame connections were in good shape, a mere 50 percent of the wood was in a condition that would garner a stamp of approval.

Summit scrapped the layout for apartments as well. “We were correcting someone else’s mistakes and that was another challenge, but we knew we would come across that in a project like this,” Heffron says. First off, while the previous ownership had a zoning permit for eight residential units, its design plans indicated that the property would feature 11 units. Summit obtained the proper permits for 11 units. The firm then went the extra mile and reconfigured the layout. “We put much more thought into it. We brought in real estate agents to make sure the building was up to condominium standards and that it was marketable, so that was an added step in the process. The apartments are of condo quality, if not better, and the layouts are good.”

The apartments at 1846 W. Division are on track to reach completion this May, but the four-story building will have more to offer than upscale dwellings. In addition to the 35,000 square feet of residential space, the property will feature a 6,500 square-foot restaurant, the eco-chic Prasino, on the first floor.