Oops: $5.8 million building permit became $58 million (but the project overall is still worth $29 million)

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priairie shores
The Prairie Shores building about to undergo an extensive renovation (Google Street View image)

Did the City of Chicago really issue a $58 million building permit for a renovation project at the 339 unit, 20-story Prairie Shores rental building at 2901 S. Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Dr. in Bronzeville?

If you were to believe it literally, this permit would represent one of the most expensive soft renovation projects imaginable — because, if true, the renovations would have a cost of more than $171,000 for a single unit with simple improvements, according to the permit:

“Replacement of kitchen cabinets and appliances. Replacements of bathroom sink. New counter top between kitchen and dining room. Limited electrical work. No mechanical or fire protection work.”

While the permit clearly sets the project’s value at $58 million, it turns out it was actually quite a bit less, but the project is still significant. In fact, a building owners’ representative said the permit should have been for $5.8 million — but that amount applies for five buildings in the complex, so the real value is still an impressive $29 million.

“I handle media relations for Prairie Shores Owners, and I write to request a correction of your June 8 story about the renovations there,” wrote David C. Rudd, senior counselor of Rudd Resources, in a July 11 email to CCN.

“The city’s permit portal incorrectly states that one of the building permits is $58 million. The permit for each of the five buildings is $5.8 million. The owners are working with the city to correct this error.”

Earlier, a CCN reader suggested that the project likely actually reflects all five buildings on the site, with a total of 1,657 units.

The contractor said he understands the project originally bid in December 2019 “and the scope may have changed since then.”

“It is a much larger project,” he wrote.

The permit says that the “existing privately owned and funded residential building will remain privately owned and funded residential” without accessibility upgrades, changes to parking, or exterior/landscape work.”

James McHugh Construction Ltd. is the general contractor. Key subtrades include: ElectricalJMS Electric Inc.; and plumber/plumbingAMS Mechanical Systems.

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