New Discovery Customer Care Provides Needed Services with New Design

Valeria Macias

Posted by Valeria Macias

In March, Discover Financial Services announced the opening of a new call center in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood. The goal of the development is to break traditional corporate site selection and bring economic opportunities to different neighborhoods as part of a larger Chicago initiative led by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, INVEST South/West. The development is led by developer DL3 Realty, designed by the Gensler team with Burnham assisting with the permitting process. 

Discover’s Director of Community Affairs, Matthew Towson, noted the importance of the location as it will “help contribute to this city’s vitality through jobs that provide economic opportunity for all residents and by supporting community partners.”

New Discovery Customer Care Location Provides Needed Services with New Design

Located at 86th Street and Cottage Grove, the 100,000 square foot site was formerly a Target with three permits related to the conversion of the “Big Box” retail to a Business Use building, with some small assembly spaces. We chatted with the Burnham Nationwide project manager, Jessica Sulka, who shared insight on the process. 

Our experience with building use changes and renovations in the City of Chicago allowed us to assist the design and construction teams with quicker permits and more accurate submittals. The First permit, which was issued in Mid-March, was submit utilizing the Self-Certification permit review process and covers interior and minor exterior alterations to a small portion of the floor in the northeast corner of the building. Submitting under a Self-Cert process requires more documents, however the review process is much quicker. With our expertise; we were able to submit the permit on March 16 and have the permit issued the following business day. 

The remaining work was divided into two additional permits that touch on the core and shell as well as the remainder of the interior space. Due to the scope of the remaining work, one permit went through the Standard Plan application process while the other under a self-certified process. Having Burnham on board allows the project to continue in a timely manner; as our team is knowledgeable regarding the permit applications to submit under and submitting the correct documentation throughout the process. When the proper documentation is not submitted, a project can be delayed; which can cost the development hundreds of thousands. 

Projects of this scope require approvals from multiple city departments including the Department of Planning and Zoning, the Chicago City Council, and the Bureau of Fire Prevention. With the different permit submittals, we are utilizing phased permitting throughout the life of the project, allowing the project team to pull different permits.

Empty retail spaces plague many communities, and the conversion of this “Big Box” retail into a needed job resource can promote repurposings in surrounding areas by providing cost-effective yet impactful renovations. The renovations target blighted or vacant buildings provide a tangible sign of reinvestment in areas. The development at 86th Street and Cottage Grove is not yet complete, but we look forward to seeing the additional growth planned at the site.

Questions regarding the Chicago permitting process? Reach out to our team. 

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