Harper Court, a major, mixed-use development in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, has earned one of the highest ratings in the nation for sustainable neighborhood design and building.
The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the project a LEED for Neighborhood Development Gold rating – making Harper Court the highest LEED-rated project of its kind in the State of Illinois and among the top in the country.
Harper Court, developed through a partnership among the City of Chicago, the University of Chicago, local officials and Harper Court Partners, LLC, includes an office tower, a select service hotel, retail space, parking and outdoor gathering areas. Harper Court is scheduled to open in 2013.
Among the highlights of the plan, Harper Court scored high marks for its smart location within a densely populated neighborhood offering multiple public transit options, walkability and connectedness to the broader 53rd Street commercial corridor. Harper Court will establish a pedestrian-oriented, urban core within the Hyde Park neighborhood, which will further catalyze retail growth in the vicinity. The project’s sustainable message will be further strengthened with bike share and environmental education programs.
“This partnership is a great example of innovation in design and development, that brings residents closer to jobs while promoting the growth of the Hyde Park neighborhood. Harper Court will bolster local economic activity, and with the commitment to sustainable standards, this development will serve as an important model for Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“From the community meetings that first gave shape to our efforts on 53rd Street, the Harper Court redevelopment has been designed to enhance life in the surrounding neighborhoods,” said University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer. “This rating is a tribute to the planning and execution of the Harper Court project, affirming that the needs of the community, the University and the City go hand-in-hand with sustainable development and design.”
A series of community visioning workshops helped outline the need for a development that would catalyze sustained economic opportunity and provide new amenities in Hyde Park’s 53rd Street corridor. The City of Chicago and the University contributed land and support for the new Harper Court project, and chose as the developer Harper Court Partners, LLC, a joint venture between Vermilion Development and JFJ Development Company. The project has benefited from the leadership of former Ald. Toni Preckwinkle and current Ald. Will Burns, the South East Chicago Commission and the Metropolitan Planning Council, among others.
The project’s design team translated the community’s vision into a mixed-use project surrounding a new street, named ‘Harper Court.’ The new Harper Court will serve as an expanded venue for public gatherings, farmers’ markets and other community events.
“Harper Court is a national model of sustainable urban development and city-university partnerships. Its pursuit of LEED for Neighborhood Development certification will help transform this neighborhood,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. “The commitment to high performance green buildings is truly inspiring.”
“The Harper Court project and the broader 53rd Street revitalization are enriched by the unique partnership among the City, University and community,” said Chris Dillion, Manager of Harper Court Partners, LLC. “Harper Court sets a new sustainable benchmark for community building efforts in the City of Chicago.”
The project will boast a series of green buildings leveraging shared green infrastructure and designed to reduce energy consumption. In addition to the LEED for Neighborhood Development Gold Plan rating, the project team is also pursuing LEED Core & Shell certification on the retail, office and parking improvements, LEED New Construction certification on the hotel, and LEED Commercial Interiors certification for the office interiors. The project is anticipated to be the first in the nation to combine all four certifications, which will solidify its position among the most sustainable private sector developments in the City of Chicago.
“Harper Court has earned the prized LEED for Neighborhood Development rating because it’s strategically located near jobs, shopping and transit and is built into the fabric of a great urban neighborhood, Chicago’s Hyde Park,” said John Norquist, President & CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism, which collaborated with the USGBC and the Natural Resources Defense Council to create the LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System. “Harper Court is a premier example of sustainability and quality urban design.”
The Harper Court project is currently 90.4% leased, with construction to complete in the summer of 2013. The project is led by developer Harper Court Partners, LLC, which teamed with the Canyon Johnson Urban Funds (CJUF), a billion-dollar real estate fund composed of a series of joint ventures between Canyon Capital Realty Advisors and Earvin “Magic” Johnson focused on investing in densely populated urban communities. Guided by the community, former Ald. Toni Preckwinkle and current Ald. Will Burns, Harper Court’s redevelopment was initiated by the City of Chicago and the University of Chicago.
In addition to the 12-story office tower that will be occupied by the University of Chicago, Harper Court’s first phase will include nearly 45,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, an LA Fitness and a Hyatt Place Hotel. The redevelopment of Harper Court is part of a broader effort led by the University of Chicago to revitalize 53rd Street.