The Residences at WesthavenPark is the first mixed-use Affordable / Market Rate midrise built in the City of Chicago. Part of the Chicago Housing Authority’s 10-year comprehensive redevelopment of the Henry Horner Homes public housing projects, the building replaces high-rise developments that came to suffer urban blight.
This 9-story Midrise incorporates a mix of approximately half rent-assisted, affordable, and half market rate residences in a cohesively designed environment. It includes 113 one- and two-bedroom units. This building also includes many amenities associated with much more expensive residential midrise developments, including: Spacious unit layouts feature high ceilings, generous storage, and a contemporary feel; on-site management; 24-hour security; an exercise and fitness room; a social and meeting room; energy efficient design; recycling center; ground landscaping; separate private storage areas for each residence; and private parking. All units have a comfortable, contemporary design and feature abundant natural light and outdoor terraces. The building is directly accessible to public transportation. Parks, schools, and social services are all nearby, most within easy walking distances.
Of key importance in recreating this neighborhood was the need to provide safety, durability, high design quality, functional efficiency, and cost effectiveness.). Yet the building cost of $110/s.f is competitive with that of more economical residential buildings with much simpler detailing and far fewer amenities.
Also important was to create a “sense of place” devoid of stigma. Westhaven Park Midrise responds to its neighborhood context with a design that echoes the industrial lofts, central business district office structures, and traditional Chicago neighborhoods surrounding the project. The three-part composition of its elevation, abstracted quoining, and cast-stone window surrounds is reminiscent of traditional higher-end residential prototypes. Being a block west of the CTA elevated rail line, it also provides a buffer between them and lower rise residential to the west which is part of this same development. Although a block long, its scale is reduced and enlivened horizontally and vertically with masonry and cast stone articulation that highlights individual units.
The building structure and all floors are completely constructed of loadbearing-precast concrete with ironspot face brick veneer for maximum durability and fire resistance. This structure, manufactured locally, is a reusable “green” material. The design of the Residences at Westhaven Midrise features a prominent planted cornice overhanging the entrance. Green-stained precast concrete panels flank the entrance and are reminiscent of wall ivy (until actual ivy overtakes it.
The City and the developers wanted to do more than just build housing at Westhaven. They wanted to change a culture of crime and drugs. To do this, they needed to produce an attractive, mixed-income community that draws both home buyers and renters. The Westhaven Park Midrise accomplishes this with a design that echoes the industrial lofts, central business district office structures, and traditional Chicago neighborhoods surrounding the project, while bringing new design and life to the neighborhood. The articulated detailing of face brick and cast stone would not be out of place in many wealthier communities elsewhere in the city. It provides a home that its residents are proud of.
Westhaven Residences was developed by Brinshore-Michaels, and the General Contractor was McShane Construction.