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CHICAGO-A $70-million condominium and office project combines something old with something new. Besides building a 37-story, 235-unit condominium tower at 301 W. Ohio St., Woodlawn Development LLC also will renovate the Bowne Building at 325 W. Ohio St., creating 12,000 sf of ground-floor retail space with office space on the upper six floors.

The project won a recent endorsement from the plan commission, which is allowing 70% more density on the 32,335-sf than allowed under current zoning. The Oak Brook-based developers are getting bonuses for renovating the 118,437-sf Bowne building as well as contributing $1.2 million to the city’s affordable housing fund.

Although it is not on the list of the city’s designated landmarks, the 80-year-old Bowne building is worth saving, says 42nd Ward Alderman Burton Natarus. Preserving the building for retail and office space means it will be taxed at 38% of the assessor’s market value, Natarus notes, rather than 16% for residential property, including condominiums. “If a developer wanted to, they could’ve torn down that building,” he says. “This is a building that isn’t a landmark, but should be preserved.”

Woodlawn Development’s Sam Persico tells GlobeSt.com he hopes construction can begin early next year. The project will take 22 months to complete. Condominiums, which will include a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, will likely go on the market at $325 per sf, Persico says. His group is working on arranging financing.

Woodlawn Development acquired the Bowne building and adjacent parking lot for $9.5 million in 2002, according to property records, $1 million more than its previous owner paid for the property along the Chicago Transit Authority’s Brown and Purple lines earlier that year.

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