ULI Chicago News

Young Leaders Kick-Off Small Group Discussion Series

The ULI Chicago Young Leaders kicked off a three-part small group discussion series on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, providing young professionals access and intimate conversations with some of Chicago’s top executives. The first session in the series “Can We Build Here?” was led by Thomas Kerwin and Angela Spadoni of bKL Architecture, LLC.  They discussed how to evaluate a potential building site and what can impact the ability to complete an economically viable project.

Thomas and Angela provided an overview of the process including examining location from both a macro and micro perspective, the zoning process, program assumptions and massing studies. Having a thorough understanding of your competition, the height of surrounding buildings, proximity to parks, retail, and public transit, can have a tremendous impact on the project.  They explained how to quickly evaluate the viability of an opportunity and how critical it is to work with an architect early in the process in order to determine the feasibility of a project.

Newer ordinances in the City are assisting developers to maximize the density of a site by permitting a reduction in parking requirements for projects within specific proximity of a transit station. As a result, transit-oriented developments have become more popular.  There are also several FAR (floor-area-ratio) bonuses developers can take advantage of including the addition of Affordable Housing or Underground Parking. Overall, both speakers agreed it’s important to get the local community on board with your project as early as possible because if you are not in tune with what the neighborhood wants, it can have a dramatic impact on the success of your project.

The session included an informal dinner and networking. The Young Leader Small Group Discussion Series continues on February 11 and February 23, 2015.  All sessions are currently sold out but there is a wait list.  Contact ULI Chicago for more information.

Authored by Daniel J. Huml, Clear Height Properties


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