CPM Development proposes new headquarters at Lake & Knox

CPM Development wants to build retail space, a new CPM headquarters, additional offices or condos, and a penthouse at Lake & Knox.

Credit: Image by Peterssen/Keller Architecture

CPM Development is proposing a five-story mix of retail, offices and a penthouse at the southeast corner of Lake & Knox.

The site includes two residential properties at 1721 W. Lake St. and 3005 Knox Ave. S. The project does not currently include the neighboring Cal Surf building.

The new building would include about 1,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, and at least one floor of office space to hold about 50 CPM employees, the firm’s co-founder, Dan Oberpriller, said. The remaining mix for the building isn’t finalized, but it could accommodate residences or offices.

Building materials would include stone, metal paneling and extensive glass designed to provide a glowing beacon at night, said architect Lars Peterssen.

CPM presented the preliminary plans at the February Livability Committee meeting of the East Calhoun Community Organization.

Resident Linda Todd expressed worries about taller heights on Lake Street someday making the avenue feel like a “tunnel.”

Oberpriller said the height is needed in order to construct a high-quality building.

Another meeting attendee spoke in support of more office space. He said businesses who can’t find space in Uptown move to the North Loop.

“What we lack in Uptown is daytime opportunities,” he said. “I’m excited to see you guys come forward with an office plan.”

CPM also recently built office space at 1620 W. Lake St., now home to Peterssen/Keller Architecture and a new medical clinic, with about 1,500 square feet still available.

Debra Herdman, co-owner of the Cal Surf building, said development has improved the area, but new construction in Uptown is starting to look the same.

“It’s all big boxes. I just think you could do something more exciting. It doesn’t have longevity written on it,” Herdman said. “One developer is developing all of Uptown.”

“We use different architects,” Oberpriller said in response. He said they are using timeless materials and trying to balance the desire for eye-catching architecture with respect for the residents. But they may revise the design, he said.

“We’ll play with that architecture,” he said.

“Will the basement parking be waterproof?” asked one attendee, a question met with laughter.

In order to stop pumping groundwater out of a parking garage and into the Chain of Lakes, CPM agreed last year to flood the lowest parking level at 1800 Lake.

The new project is located across the street from 1800 Lake. Enclosed parking would stand on the ground floor as well as one lower level, positioned above the water table.

Oberpriller said about 22 of the 27 parking spaces would go to CPM employees. Employees currently based at 1800 Lake are allocated five spaces to park, he said.

The 3000 block of Knox requires permits for parking, a feature that some residents said simply pushes parked cars onto neighboring blocks.

Cal Surf co-owner John Kokesh said it’s interesting to see how times have changed in the neighborhood. He once owned the proposed development site with a partner in 1996, he said, and they wanted to build an 18-foot, one-story commercial building on the corner. The neighborhood group “pretty much torpedoed” that idea, he said.

“Back then, the numbers worked,” he said. “Now, you’ve got to have five stories to break even.”

CPM continues to develop the area. Across the street, CPM developed 1800 Lake and the neighboring “seventeen10” project under construction with a mix of apartments, office and commercial space. Apartments are under construction at the southwest corner of Lagoon & Irving. A new apartment and office building is now open at the northeast corner of Lake & James. Target recently announced it will occupy the ground floor of another CPM project at the northwest corner of Lake & Fremont (formerly Cheapo). CPM has previously shown interest in purchasing 1700 and 1704 W. Lake as well.

“I think everybody in the area is waiting for me to knock on their door,” Oberpriller said.

The site is currently zoned C1 and R4, and the project would seek C1 zoning. The developer would also seek an increase in the allowed floor area ratio, would likely seek a variance from parking requirements, and would request a conditional use permit to build 61 feet, above the 35-foot height automatically granted in the Shoreland Overlay District near Lake Calhoun.