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CHICAGO-A 182-unit multifamily rental tower will rise at 212 W. Erie St., but not at the expense of a River North loft building and three-story commercial property. The $61-million project will incorporate the six-story Huron Lofts at 217-35 W. Huron St. as well as the 5,500-sf Flair House.

Plan commission members Thursday endorsed the 350,000-sf project, including a density bonus increasing the total square footage of the development by 47%. In addition to rezoning, city officials are recommending an increase of 70,000 sf in exchange for Niles-based Newport Builders Inc.’s $1.4-million contribution to their affordable housing fund.

The 27-story building will include 210 parking spaces. “What’s there now is a vacant parking lot,” says 42nd Ward Alderman Burton Natarus. “They’re not very zany. They’re not very architecturally pleasing.”

On the other hand, Natarus is among those impressed by Joseph Antunovich’s design for the tower, as it complements the buildings remaining on the site. “This is a great Antunovich match,” Natarus says. “He’s creating a landmark here.”

Like other recent Downtown multifamily projects being launched or redrawn, units in Newport Builders’ will be on the smaller side, Antunovich says. More than half of the units will be one-bedrooms at about 850 sf, with another 10% being 600-sf studios. The remaining 35% of the mix will be 1,200-sf two-bedroom units, Antunovich adds. “They’re generally smaller units, but we think that’s the market,” he says.

The Huron Lofts already includes 18,741 sf of retail space. Newport Builders will add 12,480 sf with development of the apartment tower.

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