Akara Partners, a real estate direct investment, development and operation firm based in Chicago, announces development of a two-building, 270,202-square-foot apartment complex at 500 N. Milwaukee in the city’s River West Neighborhood Fulton River District near the West Loop.
Following demolition of an existing vacant building on the site, Akara will proceed with construction of 227 apartment units, 14,000 square feet of street-level retail space and 102 parking spaces at the northwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Grand Avenue where they intersect with Halsted Street. The design by Pappageorge Haymes Ltd. includes a four-story building on the corner totaling 55,074 square feet and a 14-story building on the other side of Green Street totaling 215,128 square feet.
“500 N. Milwaukee is possibly the best underdeveloped, transit oriented, site for apartment development in Chicago,” said Rajen Shastri, Founder and CEO of Akara. “The adjacent Fulton Market District is a hub for growing technology companies seeking talented employees, and 500 N. Milwaukee is an ideal residential location that is heavily trafficked with excellent access to public transportation and divvy bikes. Catering to the growing trends of apartment living, residents will enjoy the latest amenities and will have all of the city conveniences at their fingertips. With the blue line train and many bus lines at their doorstep they certainly won’t need a car to live here.”
A January 17 event to mark the start of demolition and development was attended by civic leaders dedicated to neighborhood improvement. As part of the event, Akara executives presented a $250,000 check to the ReVive Center for Housing and Healing, a non-profit organization committed to solving homelessness in Chicago.
“We’re extremely pleased that Akara is able to move forward on this exciting development,” said Walter Burnett Jr., Alderman of Ward 27. “The existing vacant building is a blight on this great neighborhood, and development plans by other organizations have fallen short. Akara has put the pieces together to create a development that will enrich the entire area.”
“This is the type of responsible, community-based development we wholeheartedly support,” said Sam Martorina, president of the Neighbors of River West community group. “A site that has been a magnet for vagrants and graffiti in recent years will now provide quality residential units and retail space in keeping with our vision for River West and Fulton River District. We thank Akara for committing a significant dollar amount for future green space in the neighborhood.”
BMO Harris Bank is providing construction financing for the development and Goldman Sachs serves as the equity partner. CA Residential is Akara’s development partner and Tishman Construction is the general contractor. The development is scheduled for completion in 2016.
When complete, the new development will include 76 studio units with an average size of 478 square feet; 123 one-bedroom units averaging 691 square feet; 20 two-bedroom units with an average size of 1,133 square feet; and eight three-bedroom units averaging 1,506 square feet. Amenities planned for 500 N. Milwaukee include a business center, fitness center, party room, dog run, bike storage, and a pool with sun deck. In-unit features include washer/dryer combinations, balconies, and kitchen islands with quartz countertops.