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CHICAGO-Central Station LLC has received approval from the Chicago Plan Commission to increase the heights for two of the buildings of the Museum Park neighborhood of the Central Station development. The four-building condo project is being developed by a joint venture between the Fogelson Cos., based here, and Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises Inc. The estimated cost for the four buildings is “in excess of $1 billion,” says Gerald Fogelson, co-chairman and CEO of the self-named firm.

The height for Grant Park Three, which will have 73 stories, was increased from 620 feet to 790 feet, Fogelson says. Sales for the building, at the southwest corner of East Roosevelt Road and South Indiana Avenue, is expected to begin next year. Construction will begin once half of the units are sold, which is expected to be at the beginning of 2010, he tells GlobeSt.com. Construction is estimated to take 30 months with first occupancies at the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013.

The height for Grant Park Four, which will have 83 stories, was increased from 750 feet to 900 feet, Fogelson says. A timeline has not been set yet for when sales of the units or construction will begin for the Four building, which will be at the southeast corner of Roosevelt Road and South Michigan Avenue, he says. Central Station LLC decided to increase the heights of the buildings because both the developers and the city have a desire for taller and more slender buildings, Fogelson says. “It is the exact same amount of FAR as was previously approved,” he says. The two buildings will have a total of 795 units with a mixture of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units in addition to penthouses. Sales prices for the units range from $350,000 to more than $2.5 million.

A 62-story building, at Roosevelt Road and Columbus Drive, with about 280 units has been completed and “people are moving in as we speak,” Fogelson says. A 53-story building at Roosevelt Road and Indiana Avenue, which will have about 275 units, is currently under construction. “Its first occupancies will be at the end of 2009 through the first two quarters of 2010,” Fogelson tells GlobeSt.com.

Fogelson says there has been a lot of negative things in the media regarding the housing market, but Central Station LLC is not experiencing this trend. The buildings in the four-tower development have “guaranteed lakefront views” and practically anchor Grant Park, Fogelson says. “They have sold well and continue to sell. People have closed and are moving in,” he says. An estimated $420 million of sales has closed or are expected to close this year at Museum Park. “It is a weaker market,” he acknowledges. “We are getting a larger share of a smaller market.”

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