Jump to content

Otto Mation

Members
  • Content count

    361
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    1

Otto Mation last won the day on February 21

Otto Mation had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

3 Neutral

About Otto Mation

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
×