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Uptown in the News  

February 15, 2006
Senior housing building on target for Wilson Yard
Financing gets City Council OK
By Angela Caputo

Another piece to the Wilson Yard puzzle was put in place last when the City Council gave an official nod to the financing of the senior housing apartment building that will sit on the southern end of the five-acre site.

Through up to $15 million in tax-exempt bonds, $4.8 million in loans and roughly $1 million in tax credits, the city and taxpayers are investing in the 99-unit brick building that seniors on a budget can call home, according to city officials.

While the financing in place for the Wilson Yard Senior Apartments future home at 1036 W. Montrose Ave., all of the money is now secured for the two buildings that make up the residential portion of the project according to Alderman Helen Shiller, D-46th.

The financing for the Wilson Yard housing, which will also include an apartment building with 78 below market rate rentals, has been tied up just as the first phase of construction is getting underway.

Behind the fencing that wraps the site and the heavy construction materials that are trickling in, the groundwork is being laid to reroute Sunnyside Avenue into the complex soon to be home of a Target, new Aldi grocery store, parking and other retail space.

Everything is going according to plan except for the movie theater component, according to developer Peter Holsten. With the cineplex industry down, Holsten said, "We're going back and forth...we're not sure if we're going to be able to make (it) work."

The issue is that the theater envisioned for the site, with up to 2,500 seats, is far smaller than most major cineplex corporations--which are looking for sites with no fewer than 3,200 seats--are willing to build. Cost estimates for building the theater have also increased since it was first proposed, which is making the project look more prohibitive, according to the alderman.

Holsten said he has been in talks with AMC and Centruy theatres to no avail. Now he's working with Kerosatas to see if they can strike a deal to open a theater in Uptown. If the theatre doesn't pan out, the space could be replaced with additional retail space.

"We will know very, very soon if that's going to happen," Holsten said.

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