After clearing what appears to be the final hurdle before breaking ground at Harlem Avenue and Ontario Street in late summer, Whiteco Residential last week released architect’s renderings of what the frequently revised building will look like.

The renderings reveal a modern edifice of brick, glass and architectural pre-cast concrete, which its builder says most people will confuse for limestone (Northwestern’s new Gold Coast hospital building is constructed of the same material).

David Brininstool, of Brininstool & Lynch, said layering will bring the building to life. The most visible section of the development with be the six-story portion at the corner of Harlem and Ontario. Floor-to-ceiling windows and opaque silver panels will allow some things inside to be visible outside during the day. When the uniform window treatments are pulled on the upper residential floors, the first-floor, 11,000-square-foot Trader Joe’s specialty grocer will be lit with glowing panels. The building will appear to float on the light, the builders said.

Pre-cast, concrete, staggered trusses will allow both residential and retail spaces to be wide open, column-free, the weight being born by outside walls. The trusses, also visible through the windows, will reportedly play into the layering effect.

In addition to the Trader Joe’s, a 3,100-square-foot retail space will be front Harlem, just north of where the parking garage expansion will reach the street, and just south of a vehicle underpass entrance leading to a 72-space surface parking lot enclosed by the development. Brininstool said the space will be lighted pleasingly, and be well landscaped, thus inviting not only parkers into Trader Joe’s but pedestrians to walk through to either Marion Street or Lake Street shopping.

Residents of the new rental building will find atop the six-story section a walkable rooftop garden. The garden was one of the concessions the developer made in negotiations with the village board. Pedestrian access, including a pedestrian entrance to Trader Joe’s off Harlem, and the concrete itself were the other concessions. The Wisconsin-made material will not need to be transported as far as other materials might, adding to the building’s eco-friendliness, the architect said.

Construction is expected to take 18 months, but the retailers are expected to open late next year.

“We’re happy with where we’re at and eager to get going,” said Tim Connelly, Whiteco president.

The project will cost $40 million to build, plus another $7 million for expansion of the village-owned parking garage.

Completed work by Brininstool & Lynch can be found in Chicago at Franklin and Ontario Streets, in Racine, Wis., and at the company’s website


Groundbreaking is planned on the Whiteco project in August, with an 18-month project to follow. The project is waiting on the four- to five-month construction of the Holley Court garage expansion, which in turn is waiting on ComEd to relocate utility equipment.

After minor excavation in the fall, work will be able to continue through the winter, thanks in part to the choice of using pre-cast concrete on the building’s structure and its facade.

The developers hope retail tenants will be able to move in mid- to late-2007, with the first residential tenants taking occupancy in early 2008.

Ask more questions at Whiteco open house

Have unanswered questions about the new design?

Take them to the Carleton Hotel tomorrow, Thursday, April 27, from 4 to 8 p.m., and pose them to representatives of Whiteco Residential.

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