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CHICAGO-While the once forlorn Near West Side neighborhood surrounding the United Center continues to see a redevelopment boom, a site at the northeast corner of Madison and Paulina streets has been a laggard. However, a developer has plans for a five-story, 16-unit condominium building with two ground-floor retail spaces.

The city is selling the 7,466-sf site to McVan, LLC, which has done several small-scale residential developments on the West Side, for its appraised value of $672,000. The partners’ $4.6-million development will receive no city assistance, says Kimberly Cooke of the department of planning and development.

The project could fuel additional development on privately-held properties now used as parking lots during Bulls and Blackhawk games, says 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett. The site at 1660 W. Madison St. has been the subject of six previous proposals, including one that called for construction of a Walgreen’s pharmacy. “This is a piece of property right around the corner from my home,” Burnett says. “With all the traffic that comes from the United Center, the fences catch all the debris…My neighbors are very excited someone’s trying to do something.”

Each of the upper four floors will have a single one-bedroom unit, expected to sell for $250,000, as well as three two-bedroom units, ranging from $313,000 to $343,000. Although it was not required because no city assistance is being offered, one of the two-bedroom units will be available to buyers qualifying under the city’s affordable housing initiative.

The ground-floor spaces, expected to be priced at $260,000 each, are likely to be bought by a coffee shop chain and convenience store, Cooke says. Construction, which is expected to take 18 months, is being financed by a 90% loan from State Bank of Countryside, she adds.

“It’s a little more ambitious than anything we’ve done,” says developer John VanKooten. “I’m excited about doing a project in a neighborhood where I live.”

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