Homeport Looking for Input on Barrett Project in Merion Village
Homeport, the community development organization behind projects like NoBo on Long and the new homes in American Addition, is looking for input and ideas for their latest project; the redevelopment of Barrett Middle School in Merion Village. A community meeting is scheduled for 6:30 Wednesday at the Thurman Avenue United Methodist Church (415 Thurman Ave) – just down the street from the school, which sits at 345 East Deshler Avenue.
The goal of the meeting is to hear from residents and other stakeholders in the neighborhood and to “gather meaningful input,” said George Tabit, Vice President of Real Estate Development at Homeport.
He called the six-acre site, which includes the original 113-year-old school building as well as a 1950’s-era addition, a large green space and a parking lot, “a remarkable opportunity to do good infill development.” Although the specifics of Homeport’s plan are still very much up in the air, Tabit said they think the original school building would be great for apartments, while the open space could accommodate new residential construction, which would likely be a for-sale product; “there’s an opportunity there for really great place-making.”
Homeport has retained local architectural firm Sullivan Bruck as a consultant for the new construction, and Feinknopf Macioce Schappa Architects for work on the renovation. The architects will join representatives from Homeport at the meeting to provide updates on the research they’ve done so far on the site.
A South Side Plan amendment produced by the city in 2008 also looked at the possibilities of the site, presenting concepts for an artist live-work space and senior housing. Tabit said that based on the talks they’ve already had with neighborhood civic organizations, there is an interest in both concepts, but no decisions have been made so far by Homeport concerning either idea.
One thing that has already been ruled out for the project is an affordable housing element – the plan at this point is for the residential products to be market-rate. That would put the Barrett project in the same category as Homeport’s Rich Street Walk development, which featured market-rate condos and was used to fund the organization’s other projects.
Tabit said that Homeport is aiming to have the rehab of the original building done by the summer of 2014, with the new construction hopefully wrapping up later that year.
More information is available online at www.barrettredevelopment.com.
Photos by Walker Evans.