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CHICAGO-Time sometimes appears to stand still in Bridgeport, a Southwest Side community that is a late arrival to the redevelopment party going on throughout the city. Redevelopment of the neighborhood that has been the cradle of Chicago mayors is expected to proceed in earnest, though, following a community development commission recommendation for $2.6 million in tax increment financing to spur a $20.7-million mixed-use project at the northwest corner of 35th and Halsted streets.

ACRE Development, LLC will construct a five-story brick and stone building on a city-owned site at 3434-64 S. Halsted St., with 17,655 sf of first-floor retail space and 66 one- and two-bedroom condominium units above. South Central Bank, now located just west of the site, has been lined up as a tenant while talks are progressing with the owners of Gale Street Inn, who may open a South Side version of their Jefferson Park restaurant there.

ACRE Development, owned by general contractor Demetrios Kozonis, still needs to get the 40,061-sf site rezoned from R-3 to B3-3, a change that triples the allowable square footage than can be built on the property. That is expected to happen in June or July. Construction is expected to start in November with the project completed in July 2005.

The current zoning put a damper on the sales price, as the property was sold for its appraised value of slightly more than $1 million.

ACRE Development’s plans topped a much smaller proposal by Baum Realty, which also sought a $450,000 write-down of the price of the land, according to the city’s department of planning and development.

The most recent competition followed four proposals generated last summer, all of them ultimately rejected by the department of planning and development. However, the project has been in the works for about four years, says 11th Ward Ald. James A. Balcer.

“I’m proud of this project,” he says. “Halsted Street has not changed since I was a child, going down that street 40 years ago.”

Fourteen of the condominium units will be set aside for buyers earning less than the median income for the area. While those units will sell for $136 per sf to $186 per sf, market-rate units will be priced at $205 per sf.

South Central Bank will likely use its current location as a drive-through facility and parking lot, community development commission members were told Tuesday.

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