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CHICAGO-Now that LR Development has closed a five-story “sky window” in its 65-story condominium tower proposed for Huron and Rush streets, the company is hoping to begin construction by early 2007. Also added into the $250-million building’s design, criticized by city officials when it came to the plan commission in late 2003, is a 65,000-sf Canyon Ranch fitness center.

In addition to 330 condominiums and 120 hotel condominiums, the elliptical glass and aluminum building at the southwest corner of Huron and Rush streets will have 38,000 sf of office space for the Chicago diocese of the Episcopal Church, which is providing a ground lease to LR Development. Canyon Ranch will be spread over the 13th through 16th floors in the building at 65 E. Huron St., as well as have a restaurant on the second floor.

The hotel condos are planned for the 18th through 23rd floors, with the residential condos filling the 25th through 65th floors. Gone, however, is a five-story open void below the penthouse units. Filling in the hole at the top of the tower results in a 15% increase in the building’s square footage to nearly 800,000 sf, requiring Thursday’s recommendation by the plan commission.

LR Development president Tom Meeks tells GlobeSt.com units are likely to be priced in the neighborhood of $650 sf. Construction is expected to take about three years, he says, indicating there is no shortage of lenders. “We have a tremendous amont of interest in financing,” Meeks tells GlobeSt.com.

However, opposition remains from the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, which notes 13 projects are underway or in the works that would add 5,000 units to the neighborhood. In addition, Canyon Ranch is expected to increase traffic, even though the building will include a 450-space valet parking garage.

“We’ve already down-zoned 75% of River North,” says 42nd Ward Alderman Burton Natarus. “We can’t down-zone everything because we’ll get another zoning lawsuit.”

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