With its Tower Underway, Construction at Essex on the Park Turns Inn-ward

The Essex on the Park development across the street from Grant Park is about to enter the fix-the-hotel phase of the project.

Rendering of Essex on the Park (via Oxford Capital)

Rendering of Essex on the Park (via Oxford Capital)

Ten months ago, Oxford Capital and Quadrum Global were given construction permits by the city to start work on the new 56-story residential tower that is rising next to the time-worn hotel.  As you can see in the photo below, taken by YoChicago!‘s Joe Zekas from One Grant Park, work on the skyscraper is well underway.

Construction of Essex on the Park (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)

Construction of Essex on the Park (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)

Now the paperwork has been approved to begin upgrading the inn in what Oxford calls a “comprehensive redevelopment.”


Oxford started making changes at the Essex Inn almost as soon as it bought the property a few years ago.  It says the hotel is already beating its financial projections, and the Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture-designed residential tower is “primed for the accelerating downtown residential boom.”

When finished, the residential tower will bring 479 new homes to the South Loop, and a 60-foot-tall amenity space that will be open-air in the summer, and a winter garden in the colder months.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/02/20/with-its-tower-underway-construction-at-essex-on-the-park-turns-inn-ward/


Sales Start at Vintage-Looking New Building in Old Town

The building that will save the Village Theater while killing a neighborhood diner is looking for residents. Fifteen Fifty on the Park will occupy the southwest corner of North Avenue and Clark Street in Old Town.

Rendering of 1550 North Clark (Courtesy of @properties)

Rendering of 1550 North Clark (Courtesy of @properties)

The building, designed by the Gold Coast’s SCB, features a classic look to blend in with the other buildings fronting this portion of Lincoln Park.  In some ways, it is reminiscent of 15 East Oak, the Barneys New York building on Oak Street.  That building was an update of 25 East Oak, the old Barneys New York building across the street, which almost looks like this new building’s shriveled old grandmother.

Fifteen Fifty is a joint project of CIM Group in Los Angeles, the Gold Coast’s Golub & Company, and Avoda Group.  It will have 32 condominiums across ten stories, plus ground floor retail.  For those who enjoy living large, some of those condos are 4,500 square feet.

Even thought the new Old Town building is at 101 West North Avenue, it will bear the address 1550 North Clark because residents get to enter the project through the Village Theater property.  The landmarked facade of the 1916 theater is being preserved.

More details after the pictures.

Rendering of 1550 North Clark (Courtesy of @properties)
Rendering of 1550 North Clark (Courtesy of @properties)
Rendering of 1550 North Clark (Courtesy of @properties)

Sales Commence for Fifteen Fifty On The Park With Sales Gallery Now Open

10-Story Luxury Condominium To Rise Where The Gold Coast Meets Lincoln Park

CHICAGO — Sales are underway for Fifteen Fifty On The Park, a new-construction mid-rise building featuring 32 luxury condominiums at the intersection of three highly-desired Chicago neighborhoods — the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park and Old Town. The sales gallery, located at 1549 N. Wells St., is now open.

The site at 1550 N. Clark St., located across from the prestigious Latin School of Chicago and the Chicago History Museum, is being developed by a joint venture of CIM Group and Chicago-based Golub & Company and Avoda Group.

The contemporary 10-story building features architecture by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), with interiors by Gary Lee Partners, both Chicago-based firms. Homebuyers will have the opportunity to choose from three distinct finish palettes curated by Gary Lee Partners.

Fifteen Fifty On The Park also involves the preservation and restoration of the historic Village Theater’s landmarked façade, built in 1916. Residents will pass through the intricately restored theater façade to a completely new contemporary lobby.

Many homes at Fifteen Fifty On The Park feature views of Lincoln Park to the north and east, and some residences have views of Lake Michigan. Among the high-end finishes are 10’ or 11’ ceilings; white oak rift and quarter-sawn floors; large terraces or balconies; O’Brien Harris handcrafted furniture-quality cabinetry; Sub-Zero, Wolf and Miele appliances; natural stone tile and countertops; Kallista sinks; Dornbracht kitchen faucets; and Lacava bath fixtures. Luxury amenities include 24-hour front desk staff, a Fitness Center, Club Room, Library Lounge, Board Room, and individual storage for each residence.

Floor plans at Fifteen Fifty On The Park feature layouts ranging from two bedrooms plus den with 2,300 square feet to four bedrooms plus den with 4,500 square feet. The building’s outdoor space has also been thoughtfully designed. Homes feature extra-deep balconies or terraces, ranging from just over 100 square feet to over 1,250 square feet.

“The collaboration between SCB and Gary Lee has produced a level of quality and refinement that will make these homes every bit as special as this incredible location on one of the last remaining parcels with views of Lincoln Park on the Near North Side,” said Michael Newman, president and CEO of Golub & Company.

Michael Arnold, principal of Avoda Group added, “Large, comfortable layouts provide luxury finishes and elegant living spaces that call to mind the finest homes of Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast.”

“A location like this comes along maybe once in a decade, and represents a rare opportunity to purchase new construction on the park and just blocks from Lake Michigan,” said Mike Golden, co-founder of @properties, exclusive sales agency for Fifteen Fifty On The Park. “You can literally cross the street and be in Lincoln Park with its gardens, running paths, cultural institutions and access to the lakefront.”

With the Lincoln Park neighborhood to the immediate north, the Gold Coast to the immediate south and Old Town to the immediate west, Fifteen Fifty On The Park’s residents are within walking distance of dozens of dining, shopping and entertainment destinations. Top-rated public and private schools, including Latin, Francis Parker, Catherine Cook, Ogden Elementary and Lincoln Park High School are also nearby. Public transit to the Loop and Magnificent Mile is plentiful.

Fifteen Fifty On The Park is the latest Chicago development collaboration between Golub & Company and CIM Group. The developers worked together on the luxury apartment high-rises Marquee at Block 37 and 1001 S. State. Golub has also developed luxury condominiums in The Gold Coast with The Bristol at 57 East Delaware. CIM Group co-developed the luxury condominium tower 432 Park Avenue in Manhattan, a 1,396’ tall high-rise, where a number of condominiums have sold for more than $50 million.

“Having a development team of this caliber is very reassuring to luxury homebuyers,” Golden noted.

Pre-construction prices for condominiums at Fifteen Fifty On The Park range from $1.65 million to $6 million, with heated parking in a 67-car garage available for purchase from $66,000.

The Fifteen Fifty On The Park sales gallery, located at 1549 N. Wells St., features kitchen and bath vignettes and a scale model of the building. Hours are Friday through Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, or by appointment. For more information, please visit 1550onthePark.com or call 312-764-1550.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/02/19/sales-start-at-vintage-looking-new-building-in-old-town/

Work About to Start on Columbia College’s New Student Center

Three months after the ceremonial groundbreaking, construction crews have finally been given the giddy-up to start work on Columbia College’s new student center at 754 South Wabash Avenue.

Rendering of the new Columbia College student center (via Gensler)

Rendering of the new Columbia College student center (via Gensler)


The new building was designed by Gensler. The San Francisco-based company describes the project thusly:

…the design took the conventional idea of an atrium and turned it inside-out, making the active student spaces more visible. By pushing the atrium space to the perimeter, the building provides inter-floor connectivity and enhances its connection back out to the surrounding campus. The facade’s patchwork of translucent glass expresses student activity and artwork outward to engage the street and surrounding community.

When complete next year, the 114,000-square-foot building will have… well, it’s hard to say.  Student unions have always been multi-purpose facilities, and colleges are all about flex space and rooms that can be used for multiple purposes and reconfigured on demand.  But Columbia has this to say about it:

The new building is designed as a flexible space where students of all majors and disciplines will have access to integrated spaces for both structured and informal interaction and learning— from individual space, to dance studios, to analog and digital maker labs, to an 800-person event space.

Music fans will recognize the address as the former location of Buddy Guy’s Legends — one of the few blues clubs left in a city that was once internationally famous for its blues clubs.  Legends opened at this location in 1989, and moved to 700 South Wabash two decades later.

Rendering of the new Columbia College student center (via Gensler)
Rendering of the new Columbia College student center (via Gensler)
Rendering of the new Columbia College student center (via Gensler)

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/02/19/work-about-to-start-on-columbia-colleges-new-student-center/

Walsh Construction Builds Ultimate Parkour Course at Wolf Point East

When I was a kid, we would have called what’s going on over at Wolf Point East a “jungle gym.”  And my sister would promptly fall off of it, break her arm, and drive her lower teeth through her bottom lip because it was the 1970’s and soft hadn’t been invented yet.

Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)

Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)

But this is the new millennium, and those millennium Millennials would probably call the weave of metal struts, risers, and other things I don’t have the vocabulary for “the ultimate parkour course.”

The photos of what will eventually be the below-grade levels of Wolf Point East were sent in by River North Spy Chris.  At first glance, it seems pretty pedestrian.  But if you look closely, you’ll see tiny people and really get an appreciation for the scale of what’s going on down in the gravel-topped muck.

You’ll also see forms and rebar being assembled for the first concrete walls and elevator cores of what will eventually be Pelli Clarke Pelli’s 668-foot-tall residential tower.

It’s all so exciting, so enjoy Chris’ photos thoroughly!

Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)
Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)
Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)
Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)
Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)
Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris)


from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/02/16/walsh-construction-builds-ultimate-parkour-course-at-wolf-point-east/

Spring May Not Bloom at Old Town Garden Center

One of the things that makes neighborhoods in Chicago and other cities livable is a diversity of retail institutions.  Before the Magnificent Mile became a homogenized reflection of suburban shopping malls, it was the place where you could get anything, if you knew where to look.  On a smaller scale, the same was true in many of the city’s neighborhoods, including Old Town.

Now one of those quirky places that’s hard to leave without plonking down a tenner is going away.

Old Town Gardens, as seen in May 2012, complete with touts.  "Do you have 60 seconds for the dying gluten-free baby whales?"

Old Town Gardens, complete with touts out front. “Do you have 60 seconds for the dying gluten-free baby whales?”

Tomorrow the city’s zoning board will consider an application to change the required setbacks for the lot at 1555 North Wells.  You may know that location better as Old Town Gardens.  The fact that someone wants to change the setback from 30 feet to 16 feet isn’t what’s important.  What’s important is why.

According to the paperwork filed with the city (which uses the address 1553), there are plans to replace the neighborhood nursery with yet another mid-rise residential block.  For those of you who live in the suburbs, a “nursery” is like the garden department at a big box store, except staffed with people who know plants, and don’t have to be experts in paint one day, and corralling shopping carts the next.

This particular nursery has been supplying downtown residents with potted plants and veg, seedlings, cacti, and other assorted leafiness for a quarter of a century.  It is the horto in urbs that goes hand-in-hand with Chicago’s city motto.

The plan now is to turn the space into a six-story residential building.  There will be 23 new homes in the structure, along with ground floor retail space, and no parking.  But as you can see from the photo above, traditional retail space is not necessarily suited for seasonal greenery sales.


from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/02/15/spring-may-not-bloom-at-old-town-garden-center/

Goettsch Partners Completes Hainan Project

Today we continue a series of reports we call “Chicago Exports.”

So much of the world’s great architecture is designed right here in Chicago by Chicagoans, but it’s not built in Chicagoland so it goes unseen by the hometown crowd. That’s why we are featuring the great works produced by Chicago architects continuing the city’s proud legacy as the birthplace of the skyscraper, and a global center of architecture.

There has been much hand-wringing lately about the slowdown in the Chinese economy.  That, coupled with recent crackdowns on cash leaving the nation, and an increased reliance on domestic talent has made some wonder how much longer occidental firms will be considered the go-to talent for trophy towers in the world’s most populous nation.

Rosewood Sanya (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)

Rosewood Sanya (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)

Until things change, if they ever do, there’s The Loop’s Goettsch Partners, which continues chugging along with dazzling projects on the other side of the world.

Its latest to be completed is the Sanya Forum.  It’s the second in a two-building complex in Haitang Bay neighborhood of Sanya on Hainan Island.  The Rosewood Sanya hotel opened late last year with marketing leaning heavily on its seaside location.

Be seduced by the lush landscape of Haitang Bay with the sweeping ocean views that bind Rosewood Sanya’s 246 guestrooms. The generously sized accommodations include 45 rooms and suites complete with private balcony plunge pools, offering secluded solace within a luxuriously appointed space.

More information following the photo gallery.

Sanya Forum (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)
Sanya Forum (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)
Rosewood Sanya (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)
Rosewood Sanya (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)
Rosewood Sanya (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)
Rosewood Sanya (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)
Rosewood Sanya (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)
Rosewood Sanya (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)
Rosewood Sanya (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)
Rosewood Sanya (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)


Hospitality complex forms landmark destination on Hainan Island

CHICAGO – With the opening of the Rosewood Sanya hotel late last year, architecture firm Goettsch Partners (GP) celebrated the debut of the final component of its new hospitality complex on Hainan Island in Sanya, China. The Rosewood Sanya and Sanya Forum together form a landmark resort and meeting destination in Haitang Bay. Developed by Poly Real Estate Group, the complex features a 46-story, 711-key resort hotel and serviced apartment tower, a 28,000-square-meter forum convention center, a series of connecting retail buildings, and a modest visitors center.

The luxury resort hotel, with interiors by Hong Kong-based firm AB Concept, is designed to be intimate and exclusive, offering a limited 246 generously sized rooms—all with ocean views and individual terraces, some with their own plunge pool. Hotel guests arrive at a lushly landscaped entry and are immediately whisked up elevators to the sky lobby on level 14 for check-in. Combined with level 13 below, this expansive two-level public area features unparalleled views and landscaped terraces, along with several amenities including a sweeping infinity-edge sky pool, lobby lounge, three-meal restaurant, and an executive club. From the sky lobby, local elevators then escort guests to their rooms on the lower levels. The 465 serviced apartments are located in the main tower, which sits immediately behind the low, linear bar of hotel rooms. The top of the tower features a multilevel club for the exclusive use of the apartment residents and culminates in the iconic “lighthouse beacon.” The five-story forum serves as the link between the hotel and the new public square at Haitang Plaza.

“This hotel marks Rosewood’s first mainland China resort, and the forum is the largest convention center in the area,” said James Zheng, AIA, LEED AP, president of GP. “We are very pleased to deliver this landmark complex in collaboration with Poly Group.”

The design concept focuses on two main architectural elements: the “lighthouse beacon” for the hotel and serviced apartment tower, and a complementary “rock” for the forum convention center. With its glowing beacon visible when approached from land or sea, the 230-meter tower is conceived of as a unique resort in the sky. The building is organized vertically; its arrival sequence, world-class amenities, lush landscape, and incorporation of limitless water views are all considered integral to the creation of an unmatched resort experience. The forum is integrated with the surrounding landscape to create a compelling architectural presence that blends in with the lush landscape and opens framed views toward Haitang Bay. At the location where the land meets the sea, the lighthouse beacon tower rises from a conceptual outcropping of rock to serve as the symbolic center of the bay.

“The ‘lighthouse’ metaphor of the tower distinguishes the hotel from other island resorts, and the forum’s sculpted form transcends the typical conference center,” said Elias Vavaroutsos, AIA, principal and senior project designer at GP. “These architectural symbols relate to the island context and heighten local awareness of the surrounding environment, geography and landscape.”

Within the wider context, the project acknowledges the importance of Haitang Plaza, the new public square for the surrounding bay where locals gather and access the waterfront. The forum is placed immediately north of the plaza and serves as the gateway to the development. Immediately north of the forum, the hotel tower is aligned on axis with Wuzhizhou Island as the iconic symbol of Haitang Bay.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/02/13/goettsch-partners-completes-hainan-project/

John Hancock Center Latest Name to be Erased from Chicago’s Lexicon

Chicago’s venerable John Hancock Center is the latest name to be thrown on the city’s rubbish pile of the past.

The John Hancock Center, former home of this publication.

The John Hancock Center, former home of this publication.

It joins The Sears Tower, The Amoco Building, Marshall Field’s and other beloved brand names that have been eschewed in recent history.  Strangely, instead of this being a case of big business scrambling to wring every precious dollar from their properties in order to satiate faceless institutional investors, it was actually the Boston insurance company that requested its name be removed from the iconic tower.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the building will go by its street address of 875 North Michigan Avenue until a company with deep pockets and soaring ego pays to have its name added to the building.

The name change isn’t entirely unexpected.  For the last couple of years, we’ve been reporting on speculation that the Hancock name would go, since the insurance company hasn’t had offices in the 100-story building in years.

While you reach for your heart pills, here’s a list of other Chicago names that have disappeared in recent memory.  I bet some of you can think of more.

  • Sears Tower
  • Amoco Building
  • Marshall Field’s
  • Goldblatt’s Department Store
  • Red Streak tabloid
  • Ed Debevic’s
  • Eli’s Steakhouse
  • Eli’s Stage deli
  • Dominick’s supermarkets
  • The Fair department store
  • Bond’s department store
  • Midway Airlines
  • Chicago Airlines
  • First Chicago Bank
  • LaSalle Bank
  • Comiskey Park
  • White Hen Pantry
  • Daley Bicentannial Plaza



from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/02/12/john-hancock-center-latest-name-to-be-erased-from-chicagos-lexicon/