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CHICAGO-A joint venture between Capri Capital Partners and Judson Investment Co., both minority-owned companies based in Chicago, announced Thursday a one-million-sf project called the Metropolis for the South Side of Chicago. The mixed-use project will be completed in three phases at the intersection of South State Street and Pershing Road. The project is currently estimated at $500 million, says Quintin Primo, chairman and chief executive officer of Capri.

The first phase of the development will be two six-story, curvilinear buildings, with two stories of retail extending from each, totaling 500,000 sf. The buildings will have approximately 330,000 sf of retail on the first two floors with 102 condominium units on the remaining four floors. Construction is estimated to begin in the fall and should take between 15 and 18 months to complete.

The developers are in “preliminary discussions” with a grocery store for 50,000 sf to 70,000 sf, Primo tells GlobeSt.com. There has also been “keen interest” from a “drug store chain” and a bank. “We think that by the time we start demolition of an embankment that is there, we should have between 40% and 50% of the space accounted for,” he says. Primo would not disclose the asking lease rate for the building.

The condominium units will consist of both market rate units and units for buyers with low to moderate income, he says. The market rate units will sell for between $250,000 and $400,000, Primo says. There will be 20% of the units reserved for buyers with low to moderate income, which will sell for between $150,000 and $200,000, he says.

An art and technology center will also be part of the first phase and will likely be constructed in the “expansive green space” around the building, Primo says. The center will probably have a theme celebrating African-Americans and will have a computer center and a recording studio that residents of the area will be able to use for free, he says. The developers are in discussions with the John B. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to help underwrite the cost of the building, Primo says.

The property adjacent to the development includes two public housing towers. Primo says the developers felt it was important to include affordable housing and amenities for the community, such as the center and a grocery store. “In all of our projects in urban communities, we are committed to serving existing residents,” Primo says.

The development will be a three-phase project and is should be completed in 2013 or 2014. Other phases of the project will include three towers with residential units and a hotel.

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