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CHICAGO-Not only will a $16-million mixed-use development at Devon and Rockwell avenues give the city about 180 additional parking spaces, it also is designed to camouflage the 214-space garage incorporated in the three-story building. However, the city is subsidizing 28% of the cost of the project, giving ASAT Inc. two parcels worth $915,000 for $1, and providing up to $3.6 million in tax increment financing.

The deal, endorsed Tuesday by the community development commission, has been in the works longer than the nearly three years it has taken to decide on ASAT Inc.’s plan over two from a competing developer. “The request for proposal has been pending for almost three years, but I’ve been working on this for almost 10 years,” says 50th Ward Alderman Bernard Stone. “It’s been needed in my community for God knows how long.”

Now used for 45 metered parking spaces serving the bustling Devon Avenue retail district, the northeast corner of Devon and Rockwell avenues will get 13,000 sf of ground-floor retail space facing a public plaza, 30 condominiums on the fifth and sixth floors, and 214 parking spaces on the second, third and fourth floors, according to ASAT Inc.’s plan. In addition, Chicago architect John Hanna has incorporated a glass and tile mural on the building’s side. “We had to figure out a way to hide a parking garage,” Hanna says.

Although ASAT Inc. is setting aside six units for buyers earning the median income or less, commission member Rafael Leon suggested the developer work with the city’s department of housing to make the units affordable to households earning 80% of the median income or less.

“The purpose of the condos are to make the project functional, and quite frankly, make it work on an economic basis,” Stone says. “I happen to believe it will be an architectural landmark.”

Broadway Bank has agreed to finance the project, says Bernard Citron, an attorney for the developer. He notes the project already received a plan commission endorsement in June 2004. Although tenants have not been signed pending tax increment financing approval as well as the land sale, Citron says there has been interest in the 13,000 sf. “It’s absolutely amazing, the low amount of vacancy on that street,” Citron says.

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