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VERNON HILLS, IL-AMLI Residential will build its 294-unit Museum Gardens here with Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. as its joint venture partner. Construction has begun, with occupancy of the first units is expected in the third quarter of 2004 and stabilization of the property in early 2006.

The 17-acre site is on Milwaukee Avenue, just south of the historic Cuneo Museum and Gardens. The AMLI at Museum Gardens multifamily project will go up next to the 1,100-acre Gregg’s Landing residential development in this north suburb of Chicago.

The units, averaging 1,117 sf, will be in three seven-story buildings. Half of them will be one-bedroom units with a home office. More than one-third will be two- and three-bedroom units. The upscale rental project will include heating underground parking in the buildings as well as garage spaces, a community clubhouse and walking trails.

Rents at AMLI at Museum Gardens have been projected to be in the $1,500-a-month neighborhood.

The deal is the eighth development joint venture between AMLI Residential and Northwestern Mutual, but first in the Chicago region. The arrangement is part of AMLI Residential’s overall strategy of developing class-A multifamily projects with financial partners, including an insurance company with a $19-billion real estate portfolio.

While cost figures and joint venture details were not disclosed, AMLI Residential has begun leasing units in its 520-unit AMLI at Seven Bridges in southwest suburban Woodridge, which is costing $82.2 million, or $158,000 per unit. The cost of AMLI at Museum Gardens would be $46 million based on that figure. However, the REIT paid $52 million in 2001 for the 483-unit AMLI at Osprey Lake in nearby Gurnee.

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