University officials unveiled their plans to consolidate the offices of three current Facilities Services buildings under one roof at a community meeting yesterday evening.
The two-story, 86,000-square-foot building will be constructed on a currently vacant lot at East 52nd Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue. It will include trade shops, building inventory space, and landscaping services.
At the meeting, University officials responded to concerns from a large crowd of community members regarding traffic, parking space, and noise. Officials said that the building would not result in an increase in traffic on 52nd Street or other smaller streets because the only entrance to the building is on Cottage Grove. The building’s parking lot and additional space on Cottage Grove would prove adequate parking space, and due to the building’s daytime operational hours, noise would also not be an issue for the immediately surrounding area, according to officials.
According to Ellen Sahli, assistant vice president for the Office of Civic Engagement, one portion of the building, which was designed to allow access and use outside of regular business hours, may become a community space.
Another building beside the lot, formerly a State Farm Insurance office, will be converted into rehearsal space by Court Theatre. Stephen Albert, Court Theatre’s executive director, said he hopes to find additional uses for the space.
“Once we get in and see what we can do to make it an energetic and creative space, we would love to see it be somewhere we could have meetings, readings, and invite people in,” he said.
Construction on the site is set to begin in the first quarter of 2014 and the building is expected to be completed by the end of that year. The Planned Development application, part of the University’s Planned Development 43-zoning agreement with the city, will be filed this month.