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  1. Last week
  2. The city of Chicago reached a milestone today. With the erection of the tower crane at Belgravia Group’s Renelle on the River, that makes 60 tower cranes in the Chicago sky. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a noted fan of tower cranes, visited the site of the bKL-designed building person to mark the occasion. Rendering of Renelle on the River (Courtesy of Belgravia Group) While Census Bureau numbers show Chicago’s population dwindling, downtown’s residential, hotel, and office development industry hasn’t gotten that memo. New high rise buildings are proposed almost every week, and even the condominium market appears to be slowly waking from its deep slumber. Naturally, time and construction progress will cause some of the cranes up now to come back down. But with megaprojects like Riverline, 700 at the River, The 78, Lincoln Yards, the remainder of Lakeshore East, Wolf Point, and Old Town Park, either under construction, or fully steaming in that direction, you can bet your hard hat strap that even the 60 mark will be surpassed. Click to view the full article
  3. The gas station is long gone, and the glazing is almost complete on 3901 North Broadway, the residential block going up on the northeast corner of Sheridan and Broadway. We spent many a windy winter’s afternoon standing on that corner waiting for the #80 Irving Park bus to provide us with shelter, safety, and transportation. It would have been nice to have this nine-story building there to hide from the elements. 3901 North Broadway under construction (Courtesy of Lake View Spy Joel) In the photograph above from Lake View Spy Joel, you can see that the building topped out long ago, and the windows are almost fully in place. But what about that part that’s all green insulation board? No glass there. As we reported back in April of 2016, that’s all going to be faced in brick. When complete, the building will have one hundred apartments, and a little over 1,500 square feet of retail space. Click to view the full article
  4. Checking In On 168 North Michigan

    Today we’re checking in on 168 North Michigan, because it looks like it will be a long time before anyone else checks in at the hotel that’s supposed to be going in this space. 168 has been the subject of many big plans, and a metric ton of pigeon droppings, ever since Greece’s Atlantic Bank left the building close to a decade ago. It’s currently being converted into a 200+ room “independent lifestyle luxury hotel” called Hotel Julian by brave W.E. O’Neil hardhats at the behest of River North’s Oxford Capital and New York’s Quadrum Global. Renovations at 168 North Michigan Avenue (courtesy of Loop Spy Joel) When complete, the Hirsch Associates-designed renovation will fill the building with 200 hotel rooms, five additional floors of height, and a new restaurant. But as you can see from the photo above sent in by Loop Spy Joel, there’s a lot of work to be done, at least on the outside. That restaurant is one of the major events going on behind the scenes here. Because while the outside of the building doesn’t look like it’s changed much at all since the Daley administration, city paperwork shows there’s all kinds of stuff going on inside. The old elevators were decommissioned, and permits for a new bank of elevators were issued back in July. In mid-September, the city granted permission to build out that new restaurant. And at the end of that month, the renovation plans were rejiggered to allow the addition of another eight guest rooms on the second floor, which will be awesome for tourists who are also fans of taxi horns. But if the nuns living in the cloister next door can get used to it, anyone can. At one time the restaurant was going to be called Millennium Kitchen and be helmed by early Iron Chef competitor and rumored White House chef candidate David Burke. But that was years ago, back when this was going to be a Hotel Indigo. Quadrum is aiming for a 2018 opening for this property, so we might find out what’s going on sooner rather than later. Assuming that facade can get patched up in a hurry. Click to view the full article
  5. Yes, we're all a bunch of fifth-graders around here. But in spite of the juvenile headline, what's planned for Goose Island is clearly innovative. Texas mega-developer Hines officially plans to put up a new office building on Goose Island that's made of wood. Rendering of T3 Chicago (Courtesy of Hines) Crain's Chicago Business first reported Hines knotty notion way back in February, and we noted back then that this isn't Hines' first time going out on this limb. It has a large office building in Minneapolis called T3, which is the home of the Gopher State's Amazon.com presence. "T3" stands for timber, transit, and technology. Hines' Chicago effort will, imaginatively, be called "T3 Chicago." The architecture firm that designed T3 in Minneapolis is Michael Green Architecture, and Michael Green did a Ted Talk once about "Why we should build wooden skyscrapers." He'll try to work his magic in Chicago, too. T3 Chicago will be seven stories tall, with 270,000 square feet of space. In a spot of irony, the new wooden office building will be located where the Big Bay lumber yard once was. While wooden office buildings are trendy around the world, especially in timber-abundant places like Scandinavia, this will be the first significant permanent wooden building in Chicago in more than a hundred years. But it likely won't be the last. Near North architecture firm Perkins+Will has proposed the 80-story River Beech Tower, as part of CMK and Lendlease's huge Riverline development south of the Willis Tower. Rendering of the proposed River Beach Tower Press release follows. HINES ANNOUNCES T3 ON CHICAGO'S GOOSE ISLAND Hines, the international real estate firm, in a joint venture with Diversified Real Estate Capital, LLC ("DRE") and Big Bay Realty, LLC, announced it will develop T3 Goose Island - a seven-story, 270,000-square-foot heavy timber office development. The project will be the first wood-structured office building developed in Chicago since the 1800s. Goose Island, an industrial and manufacturing hub since the 1850s, is now being reinvented as a highly desirable office location surrounded by the most affluent residential neighborhoods in Chicago. Sparked by the North Branch Framework, approved by City Council in July, the plan includes infrastructure improvements, added public, pedestrian and bike-friendly transit options, and open space to take advantage of Goose Island's natural setting on the Chicago River. Until 2015, the T3 Goose Island site was home to Big Bay Lumber. Hines will work with DLR Group and Michael Green Architects, the architectural team behind the firm's prototype T3 project in Minneapolis, to design a timber-structured building in homage to the history of the site and as a market differentiator in Goose Island's evolving neighborhood. "Users are seeking authentic office environments that enable their culture. They want modern design, efficient operations and environmentally sensitive construction and T3 Goose Island will deliver on all of their expectations," said Brian Atkinson, Hines managing director. Designed for collaboration and work/life balance, T3 will offer an exceptional complement of amenities including common social areas, a shared rooftop deck, private tenant-only balconies on each floor, bike storage and repair, a modern fitness facility with locker rooms, and dynamic ground floor retail. Surrounded by the most vibrant residential neighborhoods in Chicago, including: Bucktown, Wicker Park, Lincoln Park and Old Town, Goose Island is becoming a new hub for progress, easily accessible by bike, water taxi, bus, Metra and car. The environmental benefit of using wood on T3 is the equivalent to taking 966 cars off the road for a year. With timber as the structural system of the project, T3 will be one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable developments in Chicago. Click to view the full article
  6. Earlier
  7. There’s something to be said for a rainy autumn day in Chicago. Something about the drizzle pattering off the pale yellow leaves of the few remaining ash trees in the city’s medians. And the low-hanging clouds that turn the city of skyscrapers into a busy village. And then there’s the mud. Wolf Point East under construction (courtesy of River North Spy Chris) The people at Wolf Point know about mud. You may remember last month the hole being dug for Pelli Clarke Pelli’s East tower filled with water, all the way up to the level of the Chicago River, engulfing all of the supplies, machinery, and generators therein. It’s almost a month later, and the place is still a muckhole. But that’s to be expected any time you build something right next to a major waterway. Especially when your 60-story tower is supposed to have an additional six levels below grade. River North Spy Chris sent in these photos of the Walsh Construction’s Caterpillars wrestling in the mud. It looks like any minute now they’re going to come across the wooden bones of a long-lost Viking ship. Click to view the full article
  8. The advocacy group Friends of the Parks made headlines last year when it successfully scared Hollywood director George Lucas away from Chicago, handing his free billion-dollar art museum to Los Angeles on a silver platter. At the time, there were minor rumblings about the group’s true commitment to the city’s parks since it opposed the Lucas museum plan in Grant Park, but was silent on the Obama museum plan in the less-affluent Jackson Park. While the group is still standing aside, letting the Obama Presidential Center go up on several acres of public parkland, it has drawn the line at the Obama Foundation’s plan for parking. Potential park in peril by proposed presidential parking plan (via Apple Maps) As we reported back in August, the foundation plans to turn what is currently a tree-lined open lawn at 60th and Stony Island into an grass-topped parking garage and transit center. Based on other museum “transit centers,” that means surrounding park-goers will get the opportunity to escape the dirt and filth of the city by going to the Midway Plaisance and breathing in diesel fumes from dozens of illegally idling buses. The Obama Foundation calls the development of this block of park the “activation” of underutilized land. Friends of the Parks is calling bullshit. Friends of the Parks adamantly rejects the Obama Foundation’s characterization of such as the addition of parkland and calls upon the Obama Presidential Center to revisit previous discussions about underground parking garage options. An above-ground garage further erodes existing green space. Plans made public back when we did our first story on this parking garage tried to make it look like an underground garage, beneath a grassy knoll. The Obama Foundation even pushed it as a place where families could have picnics. But the Friends have seen CDOT documents which show it’s just a regular, ugly, concrete parking garage with a green roof. And anyone who’s flown over downtown knows how quickly a “green roof” becomes a brown roof in Chicago. There is no shortage of nearby “underutilized” acreage. In fact, there’s currently a surface parking lot directly across the street from the location of the future Obama Center. But what there is a shortage of is landlords willing to give away their land for free, the way Mayor Rahm Emanuel is so willing to give away public parkland in exchange for the nebulous promise of increased economic development. Contrary to the claims of City Hall, if you’ve ever been to Abilene, Kansas or most other presidential centers, you know that presidential museums are ego-builiding punch-list items, not economic generators. For more on the FotP’s objections, see the press release after the diagrams. Friends of the Parks Steps Up the Fight for Green Space in Jackson Park in Light of the Obama Foundation’s Proposed Above-Ground Parking Garage on the Historic Midway Plaisance Formalizes Alliances with South Side Residents on Community-based Campaigns With the proposals for the Obama Presidential Center poised to move forward toward the city’s Plan Commission yet this year, Friends of the Parks will oppose the Obama Foundation’s proposal to build an above-ground parking garage on the eastern edge of the Midway Plaisance. Friends of the Parks will support a new community-based effort which last week launched the “Save the Midway” campaign. It includes a petition drive and other organizing activities to challenge the construction of an above-ground garage on this key element of Frederick Law Olmsted’s highly-revered South Parks system linking Jackson Park to Washington Park, part of Chicago’s green boulevard system and an area that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since the beginning, Friends of the Parks has welcomed the Obama Presidential Center to Chicago but has vociferously maintained that it should not be in a park, suggesting that it be located instead on vacant land across the street from Washington Park. Friends of the Parks has strongly spoken out for the need for comprehensive park planning which takes into consideration community views and ensures an integrated approach in the spirit of Olmsted’s vision that “every part must be planned subordinate to and dependent on every other part.” We have appreciated the Obama Foundation’s role in ensuring the initiation of the South Lakefront Framework Plan process by the Chicago Park District and in engaging our organization and others in discussions about various elements of the Obama Presidential Center. At an August invitation-only meeting at the Obama Foundation at which Friends of the Parks’ executive director was in attendance, the Foundation announced their plans for the above-ground parking structure on the Midway and pitched it as a hill that would disguise the garage as a park. But the images that were revealed at a subsequent Chicago Department of Transportation-hosted public meeting depicted a square, cement garage with a green roof. The proposed parking structure has since become a topic of significant debate. Friends of the Parks adamantly rejects the Obama Foundation’s characterization of such as the addition of parkland and calls upon the Obama Presidential Center to revisit previous discussions about underground parking garage options. An above-ground garage further erodes existing green space. “This would be a further reduction in park acreage and marks an unacceptable usurpation of parkland,” stated Friends of the Parks Board Chair Lauren Moltz, a Hyde Park resident. “As part of community meetings toward the development of the South Lakefront Framework Plan, community members have noted the need for additional parking to facilitate their access to various park amenities. The parking garage should be built underground and closer to these amenities so as to enhance rather than detract from the park.” Also, while we are pleased that the Chicago Park District launched a planning process in response to our call for such and has recently also heeded our call to slow down the South Lakefront Framework Plan planning process, we are now concerned that the Obama Presidential Center is moving forward on a separate track and is expected to go before Plan Commission in November. Such a move is reminiscent of the piecemeal approach that we critiqued earlier in the process and threatens the ability of the community to consider and respond to all elements of the proposed revitalization plan as a whole. To further promote an emphasis on the interrelatedness of the many issues that the Obama Presidential Center-inspired revitalization proposals represent and to bolster efforts to protect green space, Friends of the Parks is formalizing its role with the South Side groups that comprise the Obama Library CBA (Community Benefits Agreement) Coalition. Having already provided some insight and capacity to the CBA Coalition regarding its sustainability pillar, Friends of the Parks is now joining as an “Ally” to further strengthen the call for the replacement of all green space taken up by the Obama Presidential Center and the replacement of all recreational facilities that are threatened with displacement by any and all Jackson Park revitalization proposals. “Supporting the ‘Sustainability and Transportation’ platform of the CBA Coalition’s proposed Community Benefits Agreement is consistent with our mission and speaks to Friends of the Parks’ active engagement with many voices in the community impacted by the Obama Presidential Center,” said Juanita Irizarry, Executive Director of Friends of the Parks. “We continue to use our position to call for transparency around a host of park-related issues and the engagement of local voices in order to make good decisions concerning Jackson Park and South Shore Park ‘revitalization.’ We also call on the Obama Foundation to fully live up to its stated mission of promoting civic engagement in public conversations such as these.” Finally, Friends of the Parks recently has formalized its relationship with Jackson Park Watch. Having previously welcomed this unincorporated park partner organization to its networking meetings and trainings, Friends of the Parks recently approved Jackson Park Watch’s application to operate under Friends of the Parks fiscal sponsorship. However, some of the details of this relationship have been reported erroneously in recent weeks. As one of 40-plus park partner organizations for which Friends of the Parks provides fiscal sponsorship, Jackson Park Watch functions under our 501(c)3 status so that they can raise tax-deductible donations. As with all of our fiscally-sponsored entities and in accordance with the law, Jackson Park Watch operates under the umbrella of the Friends of the Parks mission. They manage their own operations and strategies day-to-day, some of which may align directly with Friends of the Parks’ priorities and strategies and some of which may not. Jackson Park Watch’s current pursuit of potential legal strategies to address Obama Presidential Center-related issues is neither directed by Friends of the Parks nor necessarily objectionable to Friends of the Parks. Click to view the full article
  9. Where the Bikes Are in Chicago

    When the Chicago Department of Transportation started replacing the standard white stripe bicycle lanes with lanes painted florescent green, with their own medians, elevations, and traffic lights, it was something of a novelty. Now these pedal priority paths are a part of everyday life guiding and protecting commuters, tourists, and delivery people around the city. If you’ve ever wondered which routes are the most pedaled, and if they align with CDOT’s plan, wonder no more. Now you can see Chicago’s popular bicycle routes lit up like the tail lights of car commuters streaming down the Kennedy. A company called Strava makes a GPS app for active people to track their distance, progress, health, etc… It has taken billions of points of data from its users and made a cool web page that shows which Chicago streets are most popular with cyclists. Strava heat map of downtown Chicago The image above shows downtown Chicago from Oak Street to Roosevelt Road. Not surprisingly, the lakefront path is lit up like Uncle Frank on New Year’s Eve. In fact, most of the central grid is pretty well used, but a few streets stand out: Milwaukee Avenue coming in from the northwest Kinizie Street, feeding all those commuters into River North Grand Avenue, the cross-town connector Halsted Street, the north-south route of choice Dearborn Street, the darling of CDOT’s downtown cycling strategy To be sure, this is not a scientific study and one that CDOT likely won’t use when planning which pavement to repaint. But it’s a fun way to scroll around Chicago (and other cities) and view the hot routes in your neighborhood. Other observations: Strava map of Oak Park, Forest Park, and River Forest Oak Park, Forest Park, and River Forest are an island of bicycle activity surrounded by a sea of darkness. Strava heat map of Caldwell/Smith Woods and LaBagh Woods Caldwell/Smith Woods and LaBagh Woods stand out as beacons of bicycling on the northwest side. To see what your neighborhood looks like, follow this link. Click to view the full article
  10. The growth of Chicago’s Fulton Market District has been nothing short of incredible over the last decade. Underbuilt land, proximity to The Loop, and a “me, too” attitude by developers and tech companies trying to gather the crumbs falling from the Google gravy train have vaulted the area from urban workhorse, over hipster haven, straight into bustling tech hub. It’s a taxman’s dream come true. Rendering of 1200 West Fulton Market (via The IBT Group) The latest Next Big Thing™ proposed for the former slaughterhouse district is an enormous commercial development from IBT Group and Lamb Partners. This kind of urban transformation isn’t new to IBT, which is walking distance away. It’s the firm responsible for the Near West Side Target store. IBT doesn’t have a name for the 1.2 million square-foot building, which will eat the entire 3.3 acre 1200 block of West Fulton Market. It was designed by New York’s S9 Architecture, which has made a name for itself stacking blocks on top of blocks and making them hang over each other from Brooklyn to the bluffs of Saint Paul. If you’re into that sort of thing, this Fulton Market project won’t disappoint. Crain’s Chicago Business was the beanspiller-in-chief on this one, and reports that it the block’s tower will be 24 stories tall. A boutique hotel is also planned, along with streetfront retail all for the bargain price of a half-billion dollars. Rendering of 1200 West Fulton Market (via The IBT Group) Buried in the Crain’s piece is a note that Chicago officials are asking Metra to consider a new West Town station at Ashland Avenue, which would help bring even more office development to the neighborhood. Marketing material for this project, however, shows the potential new Metra station at Ogden Avenue, which would also be welcome. It also shows eight adjacent city blocks ripe for complementary development, and potentially Amazon’s HQ2. However, most non-Chicago analysts rank Chicago’s chances of getting HQ2 at a distant fifth or worse, with New York and San Francisco currently leading the pack. Click to view the full article
  11. The growth of Chicago’s Fulton Market District has been nothing short of incredible over the last decade. Underbuilt land, proximity to The Loop, and a “me, too” attitude by developers and tech companies trying to gather the crumbs falling from the Google gravy train have vaulted the area from urban workhorse, over hipster haven, straight into bustling tech hub. It’s a taxman’s dream come true. Rendering of 1200 West Fulton Market (via The IBT Group) The latest Next Big Thing™ proposed for the former slaughterhouse district is an enormous commercial development from IBT Group and Lamb Partners. This kind of urban transformation isn’t new to IBT, which is walking distance away. It’s the firm responsible for the Near West Side Target store. IBT doesn’t have a name for the 1.2 million square-foot building, which will eat the entire 3.3 acre 1200 block of West Fulton Market. It was designed by New York’s S9 Architecture, which has made a name for itself stacking blocks on top of blocks and making them hang over each other from Brooklyn to the bluffs of Saint Paul. If you’re into that sort of thing, this Fulton Market project won’t disappoint. Crain’s Chicago Business was the beanspiller-in-chief on this one, and reports that it the block’s tower will be 24 stories tall. A boutique hotel is also planned, along with streetfront retail all for the bargain price of a half-billion dollars. Rendering of 1200 West Fulton Market (via The IBT Group) Buried in the Crain’s piece is a note that Chicago officials are asking Metra to consider a new West Town station at Ashland Avenue, which would help bring even more office development to the neighborhood. Marketing material for this project, however, shows the potential new Metra station at Ogden Avenue, which would also be welcome. It also shows eight adjacent city blocks ripe for complementary development, and potentially Amazon’s HQ2. However, most non-Chicago analysts rank Chicago’s chances of getting HQ2 at a distant fifth or worse, with New York and San Francisco currently leading the pack. Click to view the full article
  12. Now Open: Landmark West Loop

    Another Near West Side residential building recently celebrated its grand opening. Landmark West Loop actually started welcoming residents at the beginning of August with a soft opening, but now things are officially official. Rendering of 1035 West Van Buren The building is conveniently located on the banks of the Eisenhower Expressway, across the highway from the U.I.C. campus, and across the street from Target. It’s also just six blocks from the West Loop. It sports 300 residences across 31 stores at 1035 West Van Buren Street. Homes run from 500 to just shy of 2,000 square feet at rates from $1,740 to $6,200/month. This is actually the second plan for this space. At the turn of the century, the city approved a plan to put up a residential building here that was 30% taller. It also had a very 90’s post-modern design, like an outsized French chateau. What eventually got built, by a new developer (Related Midwest) and a new architecture firm (New York’s Morris Adjmi Architects), is far more modern while at the same time blending in better with the neighborhood. Press release follows the photos. You know the drill. Related Midwest Celebrates Opening of Landmark West Loop in Chicago Morris Adjmi-designed tower is first West Loop apartment tower to deliver in 2017 CHICAGO (Nov. 1, 2017) — Related Midwest recently celebrated the grand opening of Landmark West Loop, the developer’s 31-story, 300-unit luxury rental tower at 1035 W. Van Buren St. in Chicago’s West Loop. Designed by New York-based Morris Adjmi Architects, the glass-and-steel high-rise – Related Midwest’s third luxury rental offering in downtown Chicago – was the first apartment building to open in the West Loop in 2017, welcoming its first residents Aug. 1. The building’s grand opening event, held on Oct. 24 and inspired by Landmark’s identity as “A New Local Standard” in the West Loop, included pop-up shops from neighborhood designers and retailers All Choked Up, Luxury Garage Sale, T&J Designs, Sanem’s and Christina Karin. In addition, local chefs Justin Behlke of Pilot Light and Alex Theodoroff of MAD Social prepared samples of popular menu items on-site in the building’s demonstration kitchen, while West Loop staple The Publican catered the event. “In opening Landmark West Loop, we’ve unlocked a largely undiscovered corner of the West Loop that is brimming with aspirational students and professionals who want to live where they work and study,” said Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest. “Every detail of this project was carefully considered, from the stunning silhouette by Morris Adjmi, to the craftsman-inspired interiors from Reunion Goods & Services, to the thoughtful programming by our own design and development teams. These partnerships have resulted in a triumph of luxury housing tailor-made for this lively, progressive neighborhood, which has already attracted Google, McDonald’s and other high-profile employers.” Landmark West Loop offers a mix of studio, convertible, one-, and two-bedroom apartments, along with two- and three-bedroom penthouses. Residences range in size from 500 to 1,960 square feet, including the penthouses, with pricing starting at $1,740 per month for studios, $1,975 for convertibles, $2,495 for one-bedrooms, and $2,910 for two-bedrooms. Three-bedroom, 2½-bath penthouses are priced from $6,195 per month. Four decorated models – a studio, two one-bedrooms and one two-bedroom corner unit – highlight Landmark’s open layouts and modern finishes. Each apartment includes 9-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, custom plank flooring, solid-core wood interior doors, spacious closets, in-unit laundry and resident-controlled Nest thermostats. High-end kitchens showcase custom storm gray-colored cabinetry, quartz countertops, white subway tile backsplashes, open shelving, high-performance Bosch appliances, and mobile stainless steel islands in select plans. Baths feature hexagon tile flooring, quartz countertops, custom-designed vanities and walk-in showers with frameless glass surrounds. Residents of Landmark West Loop have access to nearly 12,000 square feet of amenity space, including Landmark Sport & Social, a landscaped sun deck with skyline views and a pool, spa, cabanas, lounge areas, fire pit, outdoor kitchens and dog run. Indoor amenities include an adjacent pool house with ping-pong, shuffleboard and arcade games, as well as a 3,500-square-foot fitness center that features Peloton bikes, Gym Rax and TRX mounting systems, Hammer Strength weightlifting equipment and an adjacent yoga studio. Other common areas include a community-supported agriculture (CSA) room with seasonal programming; The Den, a reservable lounge with a big-screen TV, seating areas and an adjacent demonstration kitchen and dining room; and the Living Library, an expansive co-working and social gathering area with a copper-hooded fireplace, multiple seating areas and communal work tables. “The Living Library is truly the heart of the amenity floor – a comfortable, inviting space that sets itself apart through simplicity,” said Bailey. “It’s an example of how we’ve crafted Landmark West Loop around the lifestyles of our residents, using legacy projects like 500 Lake Shore Drive to learn how today’s renters truly live and work.” Residents of Landmark West Loop can also take advantage of 24-hour concierge service, move-in coordination by RelatedStyle Services, on-site dry cleaning and laundering by Pressbox, secure package delivery by Luxer One, pet spa services by Baroo, and a secure bike storage room. Landmark West Loop is the first project in Chicago designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, whose portfolio of work includes 837 Washington, an award-winning office building across from the High Line in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District; and the Wythe Hotel, a refurbished factory on the Brooklyn waterfront. Landmark’s textile-rich interiors, created by Reunion Goods & Services, feature hand-crafted furniture, light fixtures and artwork by acclaimed artisans, several of whom are from the Chicago area. The multi-colored, dip-dyed birch wall in the Living Library was created by Chicago-based installation artist Tom Slazinski – his first permanent commercial art installation. Meanwhile, the tower’s lobby is home to two paintings: the “Blah Blah Blah,” a colorful word painting by American artist Mel Bochner, a pioneer of conceptual art; and “World Map #5,” a painting by Chicago native Amanda Ross-Ho. “Together, these curated pieces create unexpected, whimsical moments as residents and their guests move from one room to the next,” said Ann Thompson, vice president of architecture and design at Related Midwest. “Walking through Landmark is much like walking through a contemporary art gallery or museum – but one that feels like home.” In addition to designing Landmark West Loop’s amenity spaces, Reunion Goods & Services also decorated the tower’s studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom models. The fourth model, a one-bedroom southwest corner unit, was created by Havenly, an online interior design service that pairs users with a dedicated designer. Landmark residents receive an exclusive discount for Havenly that can be used to put the finishing touches on their own apartments. Also available to residents is a complimentary one-year membership to Divvy or a membership to Equinox gyms – both affiliate lifestyle companies of Related – for the duration of their leases. In addition, residents are able to choose their own cable and internet provider. Options include discounted ultra-high-speed internet service from Webpass with free Google Home and Google Chromecast devices – part of Landmark’s Smart Apartment Suite. Services from AT&T and Comcast are also available. Along with proximity to the Illinois Medical District, University of Illinois at Chicago campus and jobs throughout the West Loop – McDonald’s new headquarters is less than a mile north of the property – Landmark West Loop is steps from public transportation, with the UIC-Halsted Blue Line station just two blocks away. Residents are also within walking distance of world-class restaurants and nightlife, such as Randolph Street’s famed Restaurant Row, as well as nearby retail, including a full-size Target a half-block west of the community. Click to view the full article
  13. Following up on all the ballyhoo surrounding every city in North America getting down on one knee begging Amazon.com to go to the prom, or at least locate its second headquarters in their town, the Chicago Tribune published an article titled “Amazon Stadium? Chicago developer hopes it’s the ticket to HQ2.” Rendering of Amazon.com Stadium. Not as terrible a name as the KFC Yum! Center. Or Talking Stick Resort Arena. Or Guaranteed Rate Field. (Sterling Bay) Inside that story was this bit of information from developer Sterling Bay, which is putting naming rights to a new stadium on its silver platter: “Sterling Bay is currently engaged in active discussions with the city of Chicago, professional sports leagues and international entertainment production companies to partner on the development and operations of this venue.” Wait… what? Is Sterling Bay really trying to bring another professional sports team to Chicago to inhabit a new stadium in its Lincoln Yards project where Finkl Steel used to be on Goose Island? Or is this just the kind of puffery that real estate companies play? Like hinting that every retail project, no matter how small or unlikely, will have an Apple Store. Chicagoland already has professional baseball, basketball, hockey, women’s basketball, and softball. So what’s left? The National Lacrosse League recently expanded to Philadelphia and San Diego, so that’s a possibility. And Major League Rugby is scheduled to launch next year, so maybe that’s what Sterling has a shine for. Or is it possible that the developer wants to poach a team from one of their current homes? It seems nothing is sacred this year, so imagine the White Sox becoming the second north side team. Or the Blackhawks coming closer to downtown. Considering all the development money the Ricketts family just sank into Wrigleyville, it’s probably safe to say the Cubbies aren’t going anywhere. So unless cricket is about to explode in Chicago in a big way, we’re stumped to figure out what sports league could be in play. If you have any ideas, let us know below. Click to view the full article
  14. You may have seen it, but not really noticed it, as you motored along I-57 past Chicago’s Fernwood neighborhood. But that’s OK, because soon the giant chimney that rises high above the Chicago Department of Water’s Roseland Pumping Station will be gone. Roseland Pumping Station (via Apple Maps) The bad news is that the neighborhood will lose a navigational touchstone. The good news is that the Prairie-style public works castle that houses the actual water works will remain. The chimney is no longer necessary because back when the station was designed by William G. Krieg and built in 1911 by the former Chicago Bureau of Public Efficiency, it used enormous boilers to generate steam to run the pumps. Twenty years ago the water department started spending $43 million to replace the steam-powered pumps with electrical pumps, fed from the new warehouse-looking transformer building to the south. Now that the steam is gone, the chimney also needs to go. At 270 feet, it’s taller than the Palmer House hotel in The Loop, or even the old Lawson YMCA building in the Gold Cost, but without a forest of surrounding skyscrapers to mute its stature. If you’re a shutterbug, it’s worth taking the trip down to 104th and Harvard (CTA buses 8A and/or 103) to get a picture of the pump house. It was built four-stories tall to handle the massive machines of a century ago. Today, though most of that volume is empty since modern pumps are much smaller. But the mission of the building is no less vital than it was during the Taft administration. It slurps water from the Edward Dunne crib in Lake Michigan via the 68th Street Pumping Station and then squirts it out to a thirsty far-south side. This H2O hub is responsible for moistening most everyone south of 75th Street in Chicago, plus a few nearby suburbs. The upgrade also added an extra 125 million gallons of capacity to the facility, so more water can be sold to the suburbs in the future. And if you’re into Chicago history trivia, this building’s address used to be 104th and Stewart Avenue. The address was changed to 104th and Princeton when the railroad came through the neighborhood and erased Stewart. It’s an unusual case of a railroad not being there first. Click to view the full article
  15. The transformation of the tower above the Oriental Theater in The Loop is finally complete. The building has been renovated from offices into a new boutique hotel. There were several plans floated for the building in the last few years, as downtown has started bulging with new tourists, residents, and students. Everything from a condo conversion to student housing was on the table at one time or another. But Murphy Development managed to be the party to give the venerable Rapp & Rapp-designed building new life at a home away from home. The tower is now open as the Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop Theatre District, using the reverse adjective grammar common in the hospitality industry these days. It features 199 rooms on floors three through 22, with back office operations stuffed into the two basement levels. Press release follows. Oriental Theater tower (Courtesy of Artefaqs architecture stock photography) ROCKVILLE, Md. — Cambria Hotels, franchised by Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), joined Murphy Development Group and management company Crescent Hotels & Resorts to celebrate a major milestone with the grand opening of the Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop – Theatre District. The property is one of two downtown Chicago hotels to recently join the brand portfolio. The evening was highlighted by a Broadway-themed ceremony, including a special performance by actors from the award-winning musical Les Misérables, which recently began a national tour, including a three-week showing in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. An open house was also held, showcasing the building’s stunning transformation to become the Cambria brand’s first adaptive re-use design. Originally constructed in 1927, the 22-story, 199-room Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop – Theatre District, located at 32 W. Randolph St., is situated above the historic Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre. The property is in the center of the Chicago Loop, an energetic business district, and home to a number of Fortune 500 company headquarters, such as Boeing, Archer Daniels Midland, United Continental Holdings, and the Exelon Corporation. Block Thirty Seven, a mixed-use project which includes an assemblage of high-end apartments, restaurants and local retail outlets, is located directly across the street from the hotel, making it a uniquely convenient option for leisure and business travelers. The Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop – Theatre District offers a décor that maintains the building’s colorful past through unique design features, while presenting a sleek 21st-century aesthetic as well as modern essentials. The property features a spacious lobby, flexible meeting space with integrated AV capabilities, and a high-design fitness center offering state-of-the-art exercise equipment. The property also includes contemporary onsite dining, serving a menu comprised of local specialties, liquor, wine, and local craft beers, as well as freshly prepared grab-and-go gourmet salads and sandwiches. “As the Cambria Hotels brand rapidly expands across the country, the heart of downtown Chicago is a fantastic next stop, as it is steps away from major businesses as well as unrivaled entertainment, shopping and restaurants,” said Janis Cannon, senior vice president, upscale brands at Choice Hotels. “The Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop – Theatre District truly represents the best of the brand, given its prime location, aesthetic capturing the character of the local community and amenities, all of which make it the perfect match for the modern traveler. The property even has a unique added service where guests can reach out to local experts on social media for personalized recommendations during their stay.” To meet the desires of today’s upscale travelers who want to maximize every moment of their trip, the Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop – Theatre District is launching a virtual concierge service entitled “Cambria Connectors.” This program enables guests the opportunity to receive real-time local recommendations via social media from two Chicago influencers, Chicago Food Authority and Kelly in the City using the hashtag “#CambriaConnectors.” Featured speakers for the celebration included Cannon; John T. Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Murphy Development Group; and Evan Studer, Executive Vice President of Operations for Crescent Hotels & Resorts. “Teaming up with the Cambria brand and Choice Hotels has been the ideal scenario to bring such an extraordinary property to fruition,” said Murphy. “The buildings of downtown Chicago all have stories behind them. This Cambria project is no exception and we are proud to deliver such an exceptional hotel product for Choice while embracing and preserving the city’s architectural culture.” Click to view the full article
  16. Two weeks ago we told you about a proposal to fill the surface parking lot across the street from Holy Name Cathedral with a shiny new dual-skyscraper project. Now we know a little more about it. About a dozen dozen people turned out for a public meeting about the $700 million complex, which is being called One Chicago Square (1 West Chicago Avenue). The people in attendance at the event hosted by 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins seemed interested, and the level of hostility was significantly lower than in meetings past. Yes, there were concerns about the podium and the height and traffic, but this wasn’t the NIMBY crowd of yesteryear. As we noted in our earlier article on this building, it will be two asymmetrical towers, designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architects and Goettsch Partners for JDL Development. The taller of the two mirroring Holy Name Cathedral’s belltower. The larger of the two, at 76 stories, will be on the southeast corner of the block, trying to protect views from 1 Superior. The smaller of the two, at 45 stories, will be on the northwest corner, with a nine-story retail podium connecting them. Parking will be both in the podium, and underground. The podium parking will be surrounded by residences so the general populace won’t have to stare at rows of bumpers. Of the 900 parking spaces, more than 200 will be set aside for Holy Name Parish to replace the spaces lost from the surface lot. The Chicago Tribune notes that with all its setbacks, it looks something like a glass version of 30 Rock in New York. That’s a good thing. The Trib also notes that the top of the building is still a work in progress. Plans filed with the city show the top of the building reaching 1,011 feet. But diagrams shown to the public at tonight’s meeting have it at 962 feet. Click to view the full article
  17. Do you like bulldogs? How about comfortable shoes? If these sound like your kind of things, then you’ll be happy to know that progress is being made on the new residential block called The Ardus at 676 North LaSalle Street. The Ardus under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Joel) The Ardus is a project by Cedar Street and the Harlem Irving Companies. It will bring another 149 new apartments to River North, on the corner of LaSalle Street and Huron. As you can see in the photograph above from River North Spy Joel, the steel isn’t complete, but has topped out. Also, the signs around the perimeter of the construction site feature bulldog silhouettes, and encourage women to ditch their high heels with the social media hashtag #WearFlats. This is actually a two-part project designed by Booth Hansen. It involves converting an existing old office building into residences, and also building an expansion of that building in the adjacent parking lot. Because of its primo location, it only has 20 car parking spaces, and they’re all int he basement. Click to view the full article
  18. Do you like bulldogs? How about comfortable shoes? If these sound like your kind of things, then you’ll be happy to know that progress is being made on the new residential block called The Ardus at 676 North LaSalle Street. The Ardus under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Joel) The Ardus is a project by Cedar Street and the Harlem Irving Companies. It will bring another 149 new apartments to River North, on the corner of LaSalle Street and Huron. As you can see in the photograph above from River North Spy Joel, the steel isn’t complete, but has topped out. Also, the signs around the perimeter of the construction site feature bulldog silhouettes, and encourage women to ditch their high heels with the social media hashtag #WearFlats. This is actually a two-part project designed by Booth Hansen. It involves converting an existing old office building into residences, and also building an expansion of that building in the adjacent parking lot. Because of its primo location, it only has 20 car parking spaces, and they’re all int he basement. Click to view the full article
  19. Apple’s new Michigan Avenue flagship store opens for business this morning. The Cupertino, California computer and gadget company made a splash several years ago when it revealed that it would shutter its 2003 flagship at Michigan and Huron and move six blocks down the street to take over the underground cafeteria and utility space at 401 North Michigan Avenue. Apple Store Pioneer Court (Courtesy of Apple) The most important thing the building did is create a workable connection between the elevated Upper Michigan Avenue, and the pedestrian walkway that runs along the north bank of the Chicago River. A cascade of stairs now runs down from the existing public plaza to a new public space on the edge of the river. It is reminiscent of Rome’s Spanish Steps, but instead of flowing around a 17th-century observation point with balustrade, Chicago’s steps flow around a retail store. As promised, the actual “retail” portion of this retail space is subtle. While tables and trees and seating cubes suitable for under-30’s who haven’t had back problems yet are visible from the public areas, the actual merchandise is tucked underneath the plaza at the back of the store. Apple Store Pioneer Court (Courtesy of Apple) What we didn’t get is the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired wood-and-leaded-glass pavilion we expected. The monumental glass walls are curved. The supports inside are metal. The floating roof — the store’s most prominent architectural feature — isn’t that familiar, organic, wood frame from the sketches. Instead, it’s a shiny man-made bulge that looks like a 1999 iBook, though without the Bondi blue accents. Admittedly, 90% of visitors will never see the roof. They’ll see the underside, which actually is lined in wood. That’s the same angle that was presented in all of the pre-construction sketches. Apple Store Pioneer Court (Courtesy of Apple) Overall, the building appears to be a success. When it opens in a few minutes, we’ll find out for sure. It accomplishes a pedestrian connection that the city never could. It turns a disused, confusing riverside location into an active public space. And even though Apple, as a company, seems to have lost its way in the post-Jobs era, it’s still cool to have a big honking Apple Store in the middle of your city. This is a trophy worthy of Chicago. Click to view the full article
  20. Over the last couple of years, Chicago’s traditional and new media have been ablaze with huge headlines about massive bigger real estate development projects all over town. While most are eager to print even the most fanciful claims and screwball ideas just to generate clicks, we take a more measured approach around here. With a logo straight outta 1978, it’s comfortably neo post retro. (Screenshot) Which is why it’s refreshing to bring you news of The 78 — an enormous institutional research nexus planned for the South Loop that actually has a very good chance of happening. Though the politicians backing it are quick to point out that it depends, in part, on private donations and funding, this is one of the few big new projects that stands a snocone’s chance in Little Italy. Governor Bruce Rauner made the official announcement about the project in the wasteland just south of Roosevelt Road along the Chicago River this morning. He was flanked by politicians of lesser stature, as well as representatives from Related Midwest, upon whose wide acres the acorns of innovation will be planted. In this portion of The 78’s promotional video, we see that it has convenient CTA Red, Orange, and Green Line access; seasonal water taxi service (yellow); and distant South Shore interurban love (cyan). The pink line which bypasses the site is certainly not a subliminal message to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the RTA that this would be a good place for a new Metra station. When we first reported on this yesterday, things were a little muddy. Now that everything is official, it makes a bit more sense. So, follow along and we’ll work through this together: The 78 is the new name for the 62 acres of fallow ground between Roosevelt Road and Chinatown owned by Related Midwest. People who like to note its political past sometimes call it Rezkoland. (If you don’t know why, Google is your friend.) Related likes “The 78” because it reinforces the notion that it could someday be recognized as Chicago’s 78th neighborhood. The Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) is a research quango that will conduct research with the aim of turning ideas from academia into real-world ideas, products, and benefits. Think of it as a miniature version of Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. On the institutional side are The University of Illinois, The University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. On the corporate side… we’re still in wait-and-see mode. The DPI will occupy an unspecified portion of The 78 — land that will be donated by Related Midwest. The DPI is the first part of the Illinois Innovation Network, which will eventually have campuses across the state. So if you’re not a researcher working on “computing and big data, food and agriculture, and health and wellness,” what’s in it for you? How about a nice new section of Chicago Riverwalk? We’re talking a half-mile long and one hundred feet wide. Also on offer are a lot of pretty new buildings. As Related likes to tout, this is a blank slate for development. It’s hired famed former Chicago architecture firm SOM to design the project, and has a history of fostering good architecture, from One Bennett Park near Navy Pier to its sister architecture petting zoo known as Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan. It’s not unreasonable to expect great things here. At this point, a word of caution is in order. There are a lot of renderings of this project around. But don’t get too attached to them. Remember, this project is still in its infancy. It hasn’t been funded on either the public or the private side. And Related Midwest still hasn’t decided how much land it’s going to hand over to DPI/IIN/MOUSE. But again, with names like Related and SOM on the tote board, there’s no reason not to expect something above average. As always, the press release follows the pictures. Related’s The 78 to Be Site of Planned Discovery Partners Institute Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner reveals innovation plan with University of Illinois System; Related donates land to jump-start project CHICAGO (Oct. 19, 2017) – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen today unveiled plans for an interdisciplinary public-private research and innovation center known as the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) at The 78, a mixed-use, master-planned development by Related Midwest. The new facility is planned to be developed on a donated portion of the 62-acre site bordered by Roosevelt Road, Clark Street, 16th Street and the Chicago River in downtown Chicago. In selecting The 78, DPI will anchor a new neighborhood offering dynamic residential, commercial, academic, civic, cultural and recreational experiences. DPI is the inaugural step in the development of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), which will join businesses, public sector partners and research universities to focus on the study of computing and big data, food and agriculture, and health and wellness. Led by the U of I System, with its campuses in Champaign, Springfield and Chicago, DPI will bring students, world-class faculty and businesses together to share ideas and take them into their respective communities. “DPI will help drive economic growth for generations,” said Gov. Rauner. “It combines our state’s most valuable resources in education, technology and business so we can attract venture capital to build the businesses – and jobs – of the future.” “This campus for innovation, anchored by the University of Illinois, will be a transformative force on the South Side of Chicago and for all of Chicago,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I look forward to working with the Governor and the many partners involved as we turn this vision into a reality.” The 78, in development by Related Midwest, is master-planned in partnership with world-renowned architecture firm SOM and calls for a curated mix of residential, commercial, institutional, cultural and recreational uses, including 40 percent green and open space and a half-mile of developed riverfront that will expand the city’s existing Riverwalk. An extension of Chicago’s central business district, The 78 will connect to the downtown core via the new Wells-Wentworth Connector and to the entire city via bike-friendly streets and proximity to all major transit lines. “Leveraging Related’s extensive experience in international placemaking, The 78 will be a transformative downtown neighborhood designed to respond to the rapidly changing demands of future generations, making it the ideal location for a dynamic institute like DPI,” said Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest. “Research, education and innovation are guiding principles for The 78 – one of the largest and most ambitious projects ever conceived in Chicago – so when we learned of the U of I System’s mission, we were eager to not just support it, but accelerate it by providing a blank canvas on which the institute can be developed.” The $1.2 billion DPI will be operated through private donations, government support and partnerships with business and industry. The size of the institute’s site on The 78 is still to be determined, and the university will work in conjunction with Related Midwest’s design and development teams to determine the exact location. An implementation plan that will include a timetable for the opening is expected to be complete next year. “The 78 will provide students, faculty and corporate partners with a world-class setting in which they can live, study and work – ultimately pairing graduates with high-quality jobs within the immediate neighborhood as leading employers establish a presence there,” Bailey said. “By fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and creating an urban experience unlike any other in the country, our hope is that students, including those from out of state, will decide to remain in Chicago – and The 78 in particular – long after they finish their studies, in some cases starting their own business enterprises that will contribute to our city’s diverse economy.” At full operation, DPI plans to have as many as 90 faculty members – sourced from the U of I System’s three universities as well as partner institutions – and approximately 1,800 graduate and undergraduate students who will spend one to four semesters living in Chicago while working at DPI and other businesses throughout the city. In connecting students with top research faculty in agriculture, healthcare, computing and other critical fields, as well as with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, DPI will promote cutting-edge research and product development designed to address real-world challenges facing the city and state. “This unique new institute will add to the momentum that has been developing in Chicago to create an innovation infrastructure at the kind of scale that can massively accelerate progress and economic development in our state,” Killeen said. “It will build on the U of I System’s long, rich history of pioneering innovation, and a legacy of service to Illinois and to this global city that dates back more than a century.” Click to view the full article
  21. If you’ve been wondering why things have been so quiet between Roosevelt Road and Chinatown, it turns out things have been going on behind the scenes. Big things. Rendering of The 78 Tomorrow morning, Governor Bruce Rauner will announce a public-private partnership that will turn the 62-acre site owned by Related Midwest into a massive collegiate research park. The academics involved in “The 78” innovation center are the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. The term “The 78” comes from the notion that this will become Chicago’s 78th neighborhood. According to the Chicago Tribune, the new campus will have upwards of 2,000 people — 90 faculty, 1,800 students, plus support staff. The total cost of the facility is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Part of it from the sale of the Thompson Center downtown. Of course, this isn’t the first time that the folks downstate decided that Chicago needed some Urbana-Champain love. The last time was in the mid-1960’s when most of the city’s Little Italy neighborhood was bulldozed to make way for U.I.C.’s brutalist monstrosities that are only just now starting to not look terrible since we’ve gotten used to seeing them for half a century. This time, though, the land donor is a willing participant. And we mean “donor” in every sense. The Trib reports that Related will donate the land to the institutions. We’re not exactly sure what Related gets out of this deal. Tax breaks, perhaps? Or perhaps Related will hold on to some of the land in the project, thus guaranteeing demand for housing and office space for the next hundred years or so. We’ll know more after 10:00am. Click to view the full article
  22. If you’ve been wondering why things have been so quiet between Roosevelt Road and Chinatown, it turns out things have been going on behind the scenes. Big things. Rendering of The 78 Tomorrow morning, Governor Bruce Rauner will announce a public-private partnership that will turn the 62-acre site owned by Related Midwest into a massive collegiate research park. The academics involved in “The 78” innovation center are the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. The term “The 78” comes from the notion that this will become Chicago’s 78th neighborhood. According to the Chicago Tribune, the new campus will have upwards of 2,000 people — 90 faculty, 1,800 students, plus support staff. The total cost of the facility is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Part of it from the sale of the Thompson Center downtown. Of course, this isn’t the first time that the folks downstate decided that Chicago needed some Urbana-Champain love. The last time was in the mid-1960’s when most of the city’s Little Italy neighborhood was bulldozed to make way for U.I.C.’s brutalist monstrosities that are only just now starting to not look terrible since we’ve gotten used to seeing them for half a century. This time, though, the land donor is a willing participant. And we mean “donor” in every sense. The Trib reports that Related will donate the land to the institutions. We’re not exactly sure what Related gets out of this deal. Tax breaks, perhaps? Or perhaps Related will hold on to some of the land in the project, thus guaranteeing demand for housing and office space for the next hundred years or so. We’ll know more after 10:00am. Click to view the full article
  23. As the city of Chicago’s various neighborhoods re-make themselves in a more modern image, new residential neighborhoods are blooming in unlikely places. As Kate Nash’s 20-something garage-punk angstfest goes, “You can grow flowers from where dirt used to be.” One of those cracks from where flowers are springing is the Milwaukee Avenue corridor between Wicker Park and downtown. What used to be the domain of trundling salt trucks and amped-up commuters in BMW’s evolved into a speedway for coffee-fueled hipsters on Schwinns. And for those in search of the ever-shorter commute, real estate developers are providing housing along the route, turning this shortcut into an actual neighborhood. Diagram of 734 North Milwaukee Over the last few years we’ve shown you various small- and medium-scale projects on or adjacent to Milwaukee Avenue. Now things are getting seriously serious, with a 23-story tower planned for Milwaukee and Huron, just a couple of blocks north of the Ohio Street feeder ramp. It’s one of those too-far-to-walk-but-too-close-to-Uber locations. This is reflected in the fact that 734 North Milwaukee has almost double the number of bicycle parking spaces as it does car parking spaces. Or on a snowy December morning, it would be possible to cross-country ski all the way to Merchandise Mart. Or you could put Wonder Bread bags over your socks to keep them dry like when you were a kid and hoof it to the future Tribune Tech Triangle a mere five blocks east. Future location of 734 North Milwaukee (base via Apple Maps) But this isn’t another thoughtless scorched-earth project. Antunovich Associates is incorporating the existing brick office building into the project, renovating it for continued office use. One of the gimmes for this development is that the developer will write a check to the Chicago Park District to turn the sliver of weeds and bushes between the Ohio Street Ramps, West Erie Street, and North Milwaukee Street into a proper park. Future location of the Erie-Carpenter Park. Erie Carpenters is the name of my Village People tribute band. Address: 1030 West Huron Street Address: 700 North Carpenter Street Address: 701 North Aberdeen Street Address: 728 North Milwaukee Avenue Developer: Tandem Partners Architecture firm: Antunovich and Associates Net site area: 28,327 square feet Floor Area Ratio: Base 5.0 + 2.5 bonus Floors: 23 Amenity floors: 5 and 11 Maximum height: 266 feet Roof height: 250 feet Residences: 226 Zoning: M1-2 Light Industry → DX-5 Downtown Mixed Use → Residential Planned Development Retail space: 2,300 square feet Automobile parking: 97 spaces Bicycle parking: 166 spaces Office lobbies: West Huron Street and North Carpenter Street Residential lobby: Corner of Milwaukee and Carpenter Retail space: Milwaukee Avenue Parking access: via North Aberdeen Street Green roof alert: 10,250 square feet Click to view the full article
  24. As the city of Chicago’s various neighborhoods re-make themselves in a more modern image, new residential neighborhoods are blooming in unlikely places. As Kate Nash’s 20-something garage-punk angstfest goes, “You can grow flowers from where dirt used to be.” One of those cracks from where flowers are springing is the Milwaukee Avenue corridor between Wicker Park and downtown. What used to be the domain of trundling salt trucks and amped-up commuters in BMW’s evolved into a speedway for coffee-fueled hipsters on Schwinns. And for those in search of the ever-shorter commute, real estate developers are providing housing along the route, turning this shortcut into an actual neighborhood. Diagram of 734 North Milwaukee Over the last few years we’ve shown you various small- and medium-scale projects on or adjacent to Milwaukee Avenue. Now things are getting seriously serious, with a 23-story tower planned for Milwaukee and Huron, just a couple of blocks north of the Ohio Street feeder ramp. It’s one of those too-far-to-walk-but-too-close-to-Uber locations. This is reflected in the fact that 734 North Milwaukee has almost double the number of bicycle parking spaces as it does car parking spaces. Or on a snowy December morning, it would be possible to cross-country ski all the way to Merchandise Mart. Or you could put Wonder Bread bags over your socks to keep them dry like when you were a kid and hoof it to the future Tribune Tech Triangle a mere five blocks east. Future location of 734 North Milwaukee (base via Apple Maps) But this isn’t another thoughtless scorched-earth project. Antunovich Associates is incorporating the existing brick office building into the project, renovating it for continued office use. One of the gimmes for this development is that the developer will write a check to the Chicago Park District to turn the sliver of weeds and bushes between the Ohio Street Ramps, West Erie Street, and North Milwaukee Street into a proper park. Future location of the Erie-Carpenter Park. Erie Carpenters is the name of my Village People tribute band. Address: 1030 West Huron Street Address: 700 North Carpenter Street Address: 701 North Aberdeen Street Address: 728 North Milwaukee Avenue Developer: Tandem Partners Architecture firm: Antunovich and Associates Net site area: 28,327 square feet Floor Area Ratio: Base 5.0 + 2.5 bonus Floors: 23 Amenity floors: 5 and 11 Maximum height: 266 feet Roof height: 250 feet Residences: 226 Zoning: M1-2 Light Industry → DX-5 Downtown Mixed Use → Residential Planned Development Retail space: 2,300 square feet Automobile parking: 97 spaces Bicycle parking: 166 spaces Office lobbies: West Huron Street and North Carpenter Street Residential lobby: Corner of Milwaukee and Carpenter Retail space: Milwaukee Avenue Parking access: via North Aberdeen Street Green roof alert: 10,250 square feet Click to view the full article
  25. ‘Tis the season for skyscrapers in Chicago, and not surprisingly, the greater Greektown/West Town area isn’t being left behind. The latest project in the works for the corner of Lake and Halsted is an enormous 58-story tower designed by Perkins Eastman Architects. The project is the latest effort by the Related empire to shoulder in to the area west of the Loop. Since coming to town a few years ago, Related Midwest successfully built, or finished several high-profile downtown projects. And both the location and design of this tower should also impress. But according to the paperwork, it’s being put up by Related Midwest’s parent company, Related Companies, out of New York via LR Development, which the Wall Street Journal says it bought back in 2000. Diagram of 723 West Randolph The tower is slender — just 80 feet wide, and right up against the Kennedy Expressway for maximum visibility. A 2013 plan for a building about half the height for this location was going to deal with the narrow footprint by including a headline-grabbing automated parking facility in the base, eliminating the need to space-eating ramps. The solution that Related came up with is far more conventional. It simply bought the land across the street, and will connect its tower via a multi-story bridge to a new parking garage on the south side of West Court Place. Ta da! X marks the spot works best when the spot is a circle or a square. But you get the idea. (base via Apple Maps) To date, Related has not announced what brand hotel will be in its new tower. But whatever it is, the intent is to let everyone know what it is. For the first time we can remember, the plans filed with the city for this tower include notions that the top of the building’s facade is reserved as a “Signage location.” Since City Hall has given up on Chicago’s previous four-decade stretch of branding modesty, expect this to pass unnoticed. Last year, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Related Midwest was in cahoots with the Equinox gym chain to put up an Equinox-branded hotel in this space. But that project was a mere 369 feet tall with just 145 hotel rooms and no residences. Get your marshmallows ready, here’s the firehose: Address: 723 West Randolph Street Address: 121 North Halsted Street Address: 724 West Washington Street Developer: Randolph Halsted LLC For realsies: Related Companies Architecture firm: Perkins Eastman Architects Net site area: 51,680 square feet Floor Area Ratio: Base: 7.0 + 4.5 bonus Maximum height: 680 feet Floors: 58 Hotel rooms: 165 Residences: 370 Affordable housing: 37 units off-site Automobile parking: 150 spaces Loading docks: 2 Loading and parking access: via West Court Place Residential lobby: via the alley on the east side of the building. Hotel lobby: via the West Randolph Street service lanes Click to view the full article
  26. Another developer is going to try to put up a huge skyscraper in Chicago’s Fulton Market District. Tucker Development and Related Midwest want to replace a surface parking lot with a 51-story residential skyscraper at 156 North Peoria Street. While the area west of the West Loop has welcomed skyscrapers along the Kennedy Expressway in Greektown, anything taller than a good pole vault immediately brings out a pack of yesteryear’s loft-dwelling NIMBY terriers. But with the character of West Town rapidly changing from urban pioneers to latter-day hipsters who will pay through the nose for views of the West Loop and the ability to ride fixies to their soft loft workspaces, this is as good a time as any for developers to take a chance building skyward before the sky gets too crowded. The new tower, designed by New York’s Morris Adjmi Architects, with Stantec acting at local AOR, has something of a complicated footprint. Instead of being a great big square occupying all the space bounded by North Sangamon Street, West Lake Street, North Peoria Street, and West Randolph Street, it will mostly occupy the middle of the block, leaving mostly the streetscape lined with mostly low-rise heritage architecture. Much of it was recently rehabbed into restaurants and retail space by Tucker and others. X marks the spot! Sorry, Dr. Jones. (base via Apple Maps) Perhaps this is the key that Tucker thinks will win approval to develop this space. The north suburban Highland Park firm took a swing at this location last year with a 19-story building called 900 West. The group Neighbors of West Loop objected to its height back then. We’ll see how it feels about a 270% taller proposal. Firehose time: Address: 156 North Peoria Street Address: 906 West Randolph Street Address: 151 North Sagnamon Street Address: 913 West Lake Street Developer: 900 Block II Holdings, LLC For Realsies: Tucker Development For Realsies: Related Midwest Architecture firm: Morris Adjmi Architects Architect of record: Stantec Net site area: 67,658 square feet Zoning: C1-1 → DX5-5 → RPD Floor Area Ratio: Base: 5.0 + 3.1 bonus Floors: 51 Roof height: 570 feet Podium height: 65 feet Width: 156 feet, two inches Length: 180 feet, six inches Residences: 300 Affordable housing: 30 units off-site Automobile parking: 220 spaces Loading docks: 2 Garage access: via North Peoria Street Loading dock access: via North Peoria Street Residential lobby access: via North Peoria Street Click to view the full article
  27. For the third time in recent years, an underutilized Chicago Roman Catholic church parking lot will be replaced by a skyscraper. This time, it’s across the street from Holy Name Cathedral; and as would seem appropriate for the parking lot of the archbishop, this thing is huge. “Seventy-six stories!” is what the headlines have been crying all day since the plans were filed with the city for what we’re going to call Holy Name Tower until we hear differently. But that doesn’t really give you an idea of how much sky this building will scrape. We’re talking 1,011 feet and two inches! That would make it the fifth-tallest building in the city, behind the John Hancock Center, Aon Center, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and the Willis Tower. The project, designed by Goettsch Partners and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture for JDL Development, is actually two towers. There’s also a 45-story, 583-foot-tall building sharing the nine-story podium. X marks the spot of the future skyscraper that will not be called the Holy Name Tower. But if it was, would be worth one indulgence. (Base via Apple Maps) What this means is that Holy Name Cathedral, with its prominent nave and asymmetrical belltower will get another building with a prominent mass and asymmetrical tower staring right back at it across the street. Much to everyone’s relief, the goal in this design was lighter, thinner, taller; not fatter, blockier, podium-ier. But it remains to be seen if that will appease local NIMBY groups, who will weigh in even if this is not their territory. It’s been a while since NIMBYs have had a fight this tall on their hands. The last one was a notion from Symmetry Development for a 725-foot-tall building on the back side of Holy Name. And earlier in this century, the 730-foot-tall Canyon Point got smacked down. It was to be built two blocks away at the location of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago headquarters at 71 East Huron Street. Hopefully 12 setbacks on the main tower will assuage fears that this building will suck up all of the available light and air. But the real problem is going to be predicting whose view it will ruin. 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly is famous for repeating that views are not protected in Chicago, and that your view could be ruined, just like your home ruined someone else’s view. But this is the Gold Coast, where people wear robes to work not because they’re underwear models, but because they’re judges. And justices. And the sort of neighbors that go along with that kind of social scene. People who are used to getting their way, one way or another. On a positive note, if you’re used to wandering over to Bella Luna Cafe for a romantic pizza dinner for two after church on Saturday nights, that building is staying. JDL is building around it. (Shout out to Father Smolka!) Without further ado, here’s the firehose: Address: 1 West Chicago Avenue Address: 2 West Superior Street Address: 733 North Dearborn Street Address: 728 North State Street Developer: JDL Architecture firm: Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture Architecture firm: Goettsch Partners Floors: 76 Height: 1,011 feet, two inches Width: 357 feet, one inch Length: 278 feet Net site area: 96,218 square feet Floor Area Ratio: 12.0 base + 6.4 bonus Residences: 914 Affordable housing: JDL will build 91 affordable housing units within two miles Retail space: 200,000 square feet Office space: 45,000 square feet Maximum automobile parking: 659 spaces Parking garage entrance: Off North Dearborn Street Parking garage exit: Off North Dearborn Street Office lobby auto access: Via both North Dearborn Street and West Superior Street 76-story tower residential lobby access: Off West Superior Street 45-story tower residential lobby access: Off West Chicago Avenue Loading docks: Five Green roof alert: 24,875 square feet Click to view the full article
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