New condos will offer high-end Hyde Park living

By Ethan Frenchman

With new ownership of Shoreland Residence Hall established in October, Kenard Management has begun plans to convert the building into residential condominiums.

Over the next few years, Kenard will finalize plans and secure funding and lessees for its new property. Kenard will begin construction on the Shoreland in 2008, with hopes for it to be ready for new residents by 2010.

The new Shoreland would have approximately 260 residential units, along with a six-floor parking garage, a restaurant in the location of the current ballroom, and a hair salon.

Nearly two-thirds of the Shoreland consist of suites or one-bedroom units priced at $200,000 for 700 to 800 square-feet of space. One-third of the units would be two-bedroom units, priced at $300,000 for approximately 1,200 square feet, and the remaining five percent will be three bedrooms selling for $500,000 for 2,000 square-feet, according to Kenard reports.

The property was sold to Kenard for $5.7 million. The company agreed to lease the building to the University until 2008 to coincide with the proposed opening of a new residence hall south of the Midway.

The decision to sell the Shoreland was largely motivated by a change in Chicago building code in 1999, according to Gutman, who added that a 2001 facilities audit concluded that bringing the Shoreland up to code and into acceptable dormitory condition for the next 50 years would cost approximately $50 million. The building would cost millions more to maintain, she said.

Gutman also said that it would be “irresponsible” of the University to continue to maintain the Shoreland.

“There was a major shift in the demographic landscape of the campus after the opening of the Max Palevsky dormitory,” Gutman said. “With an increasing demand for housing on campus, we were not able to give people what they wanted.”

As the time before closing draws closer, some Shoreland residents say they will miss what makes the building unique.

Azure Gilman, a second-year in the College, said that there is an allure to living in what used to be a luxury hotel.

“My friend from Berkeley just visited, though, and she walked into our spacious triple, and was like, ‘Holy Mother of God,’” Gilman said. “We do, after all, have a ballroom, even if no one uses it.”

Other residents said that an off-campus dorm might provide an opportunity to be more engaged in the Hyde Park community.

“The real value of the Shoreland is the connection that the dorm gives students to the Hyde Park community,” said Alex Moore, a first-year in the College. “The Shoreland forces students to leave their comfort zone and become not only students of the University, but also active residents of Hyde Park.”

Kenard Management is a Chicago developer specializing in historic preservation. The company has completed over $500 million in rehabilitation and new construction projects in the past 25 years, including the renovation of the Fisher Building, designed by Daniel Burnham.

The Shoreland Hotel was one of the most luxurious hotels in Chicago when it opened in 1926.

Over its history, the Shoreland hosted such notable guests as Al Capone, Jimmy Hoffa, and Elvis Presley. By the 1970s the Shoreland fell into financial difficulties. The University bought the Shoreland Hotel in 1974 for $750,000 at its foreclosure.