Another Residential Tower Coming to the Loop

Yet another residential tower is going to dip its beak into the stream of people coming to live in The Loop.

50 East Randolph Street parking garage (via Apple Maps)

50 East Randolph Street parking garage (via Apple Maps)

This latest proposal, reported in Crain’s Chicago Business, would see a parking garage on the northeast corner of Randolph Street and Wabash Avenue razed to make way for a 27-story skyscraper.

The project at 50 East Randolph Street by Thomas Roszak is on the same block where another parking garage bit the dust to make way for another residential tower.  That was the 42-story 72 East Lake, which went up in 2014.  Across the street from that, Linea at 215 West Lake opened last year, again demonstrating that people are eager to live in this slice of Chicago.

What the new Randolph Street building will look like and big it will be remain undetermined.  It’s still a work in progress.  But an educated guess puts it at about 35 to 40 stories.  We’ll see what happens.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/11/another-residential-tower-coming-to-the-loop/

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Park Pals Prevail, Plaisance Presidential Parking Peril Passes

The proposal to turn a city block’s worth of public park over to a private organization to build a parking garage is dead. It was announced late last night that the Barack Obama Presidential Center has decided not to build its controversial parking garage and transit center on the Midway Plaisance.

(Left to right) The Midway Plaisance block today, the original proposal, and the current proposal.

(Left to right) The Midway Plaisance block today, the original proposal, and the recently deceased proposal.

The parking deck and bus idling area were met with scorn and disbelief by neighbors and fans of public space when it surfaced last year.  It would have placed a multi-story parkade at the intersection of Stony Island and 60th Street.  The side facing Jackson Park would have featured sloping greenery, but the opposite side would have been a sheer facade, like any other parking ramp, and actually rise higher than the adjacent South Shore Line railroad embankment.

In exchange for taking away a block of public park listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the city would have been given… *crickets*

Michael McNamee, co-chair of the Save the Midway neighborhood group issued this statement:

We hold this to be a victory for preservationists who fought to respect this Olmsted park as a national treasure on the National Register of Historic Places; for public parks and open land advocates; for environmentalists; for community groups and organizations; and for the local community.  We are grateful to all who supported the work to keep the Midway entire, open and clear.

The Obama Foundation will, instead build an underground parking garage within the rest of the Obama Center campus, soon to be built across the street in Jackson Park.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/09/park-pals-prevail-plaisance-presidential-parking-peril-passes/

New Roosevelt Square Library/Public Housing Gets Permitted

The new public library and public housing building planned for what’s left of Little Italy is about to get started.

Roosevelt Square Library (Courtesy of SOM)

Roosevelt Square Library (Courtesy of SOM)

The first construction permits have been issued for the Roosevelt Square Library building at 1342 West Taylor Street.

FOUNDATIONS-ONLY PERMIT FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION OF A 7-STORY 86,976 SQUARE FOOT MIXED USE BUILDING WITH LIBRARY AND 73 AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS WITH PARKING LOT AND SITE IMPROVEMENTS.

As we reported over the summer, this project is a public-private partnership between the Chicago Housing Authority, Related, and Bickerdike Redevelopment.  The design is New York-based SOM.

The notion is that by combining public housing and public library in one building, the city can save money, and also locate city services very close to some of the people who presumably need them most.  And having a library in your building makes going to the library a lot easier than having to slog a quarter way across the city on a CTA bus.  No offense to the CTA.

This building is part of the CHA’s ongoing redevelopment of its ABLA Homes, and has been given a less-than-enthusiastic reception by everyone from architecture critic Blair Kamen to hundreds of neighbors unafraid to put their names on a petition.  The concerns are a selection from the grab bag of usual development complaints: fear of changing property values, traffic, and lack of community input.  As we have been following this development from afar, we’re not qualified to say if the concerns are legitimate or not.

 

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/08/new-roosevelt-square-librarypublic-housing-gets-permitted/

The Last Empty Lakeshore Lot in Downtown Chicago Gets Filled In

The official groundbreaking has been marked for 61 Banks Street, a new residential mid-rise that will rise midly on the corner of East Banks Street and North Lakeshore Drive in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.  This was the only open, developable land along the lakefront between the Chicago River and Diversey Harbor.

Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)

Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)

The new apartment block is a project of Draper and Kramer, and designed by Booth Hansen in the West Loop.  It is just eight stories tall, and features 58 residences.  Seven of them are townhomes.

When we introduced you to this project almost two years ago, we spake of it thusly:

Messrs. Draper and Kramer describe the location as “prime,” and this is one of the few times we can actually agree with real estate hype. The building will offer unobstructed — and unobstructable — views of Lake Michigan to the east, and is ensconced in a hotdish of landmarked buildings and districts so thick that, barring a Godzilla-triggered seiche, the rest of the neighborhood isn’t going to lose its genteel, leafy character in your lifetime or mine.  A toaster on the space station couldn’t make this location more upper crust.

The cartoon angel on your left shoulder is asking, “If it’s such a good location, why is it only eight stories and 60 units?”  The cartoon devil on your right shoulder knows the answer: Deep-pocketed and litigious neighbors who live in nearby skyscrapers blocking other people’s views who don’t, in turn, want their views blocked.  They got theirs; everyone else can go pound sand.

Even if you can’t afford $5,000 to $12,000 a month to rent one of these lakefront lily pads, the construction of this building is still good news, as it erases yet another surface parking lot.

More details in the press release following the renderings, all courtesy of Draper and Kramer.

Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)
Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)
Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)
Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)
Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)
Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)
Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)
Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)

Draper and Kramer Breaks Ground on 61 Banks Street in Chicago’s Gold Coast
58-unit boutique rental building designed by Booth Hansen expected to deliver in early 2019

CHICAGO (Jan. 4, 2018) – Draper and Kramer, Incorporated, has started construction on 61 Banks Street, a new boutique residential rental building along Chicago’s lakefront. The intimate eight-story property, which will grace the last undeveloped site on North Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast neighborhood, will feature a mix of 58 upscale two- and three-bedroom residences, including seven two-story “maisonette” rowhome units with direct street-level entrances and private terraces.

“The Gold Coast is Chicago’s premier neighborhood, and we’re incredibly proud to have designed a building that brings both a sophisticated design aesthetic and elegant lifestyle to match this prime lakefront location,” said Ed Polich, senior vice president and chief development officer for Draper and Kramer. “This building will be a unique residential enclave in one of this city’s most sought-after areas, not only delivering unmatched resident services, but also complementing the context of the Gold Coast and adjacent lakefront.”

Designed by Larry Booth, principal and director of Booth Hansen, 61 Banks Street will have a scale similar to the iconic residences nearby along East Lake Shore Drive. The building’s exterior will comprise traditional cast stone contrasted by modern glass and metal architectural bays. “The design of 61 Banks Street incorporates elements of the many fine examples of art deco and midcentury modern architecture found in the immediate neighborhood,” said Booth.

The building will be topped by a green roof with an expansive outdoor terrace as well as enclosed rooftop amenity space. The seven maisonette residences will flank the ground floor of the property, with these units’ street-level terraces as well as lush landscaping beds enhancing the streetscape on all sides of the building. All landscaped areas have been designed by award-winning landscape design firm Jacobs/Ryan Associates, while Leopardo Companies is serving as general contractor for the project.

Residences at 61 Banks Street will be generous in size, with two-bedroom units averaging 1,700 square feet and three-bedroom apartments averaging 2,400 square feet. Floor plans will showcase the property’s Lake Michigan frontage with open layouts, 10-plus-foot ceilings and expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows.

The resident experience at 61 Banks Street will be enhanced by the high caliber of craftsmanship and finish level found throughout the building and in each apartment, created under the guidance of Booth Hansen and renowned interior architect Darcy Bonner & Associates. Elegant apartments feature a warm, natural palette, custom details, spa-style bathrooms and gourmet kitchens with Bosch appliances, quartz and stone countertops, and built-in wine coolers. Engineered plank flooring runs throughout each residence.

“As always, our team sought out the highest-quality materials for these residences, selecting modern yet classic elements to be the backdrop for each resident’s own interior design choices and personal touches,” noted Darcy Bonner, principal of Darcy Bonner & Associates.

Residents at 61 Banks Street will also have access to a full-time hotel-style concierge and 24-hour valet parking.

“On-demand, individualized service will further define the lifestyle at 61 Banks Street, and our experienced building staff will be in place to deliver on that service promise,” said Polich. “Additionally, all residents will have access to the exclusive rooftop club, where they can enjoy the building’s amazing lakefront and skyline views.”

The rooftop club includes a glass-enclosed lounge, library, kitchen and well-equipped fitness center as well as a lushly landscaped roof terrace with outdoor seating, dining areas and grilling stations.

Monthly rents at 61 Banks Street are expected to range from $5,500 to over $12,000. For information or to be added to the property’s VIP list, visit http://www.61banksstreet.com.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/08/the-last-empty-lakeshore-lot-in-downtown-chicago-gets-filled-in/

Baffled by Winter, Left Coast Bloggers Jump Ugly on Chicago’s Apple Store

Since this publication began almost 15 years ago, we’ve always stated there is a big difference between blogging and journalism.  That became evident over this New Year’s Eve weekend, when a bunch of 20-somethings with smartphones who like to play journalist lit up the internet with cries that there was something wrong with the new Apple flagship store at Pioneer Court.

Sadly, it started with local blogger Matt Maldre who posted a photograph on his blog showing the Apple Store with sandwich board signs next to it warning, “Watch for Falling Show and Ice.”  Matt gave his photograph and accompanying accusatory essay the unfortunate clickbiat title “Design flaw in Apple flagship store.”

Apple Store Pioneer Court (Courtesy of Apple)

Apple Store Pioneer Court (Courtesy of Apple)

How he knew there was a design flaw is hard to say.  He is neither an architect, nor an engineer.  Nor is he in any way related to the construction industry.  He describes himself as a “graphic designer and public spaces artist.”  Public spaces artist usually means graffiti vandal, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Mr. Maldre’s photo, headline, and accompanying snark caught the attention of national Apple blogger John Gruber.  Again, not a journalist, but a blogger for Daring Fireball, which was once highly respected as a breaker of Apple news, but is now more often caught in the same cycle of hysteria and hyperbole that afflicts most online publications.

From there, the story was aped by all of the big tech blogs in the SFO-PDX-SEA left coast tech echo chamber: The Verge, Mashable, 9 to 5 Mac, Ars Technica, and dozens of others reaching millions of people.  This led to those mainstream media outlets that are struggling to make the transition to digital to copy the story as well.  And in keeping with today’s journalism standards, it was publish first, gather facts later — if at all.  Among the guilty parties are Newsweek, KCBS, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Our local media went more cautiously into the fray, actually bothering to check out the story instead of taking the word of some random stranger at a bus stop that there was a problem.  To wit:

  • We learned that the roof of the Apple Store at Pioneer Court does have a heating system.
  • The heating system didn’t do as good a job as it could have, which is not unexpected as this is the first major cold snap of its first winter.  Tweaks are always made once real-world conditions are encountered.
  • The building has no gutters, so the water created by the heating system is supposed to drain through pipes in the support columns.
  • The computer system controlling the rooftop heating will be (probably has been by the time you read this) reprogrammed.

The Chicago Sun-Times talked to a consultant for the London architecture firm Foster + Partners that designed the store.  She claimed that ice wasn’t a major consideration when it was designed.  An Apple spokesperson disputes this, and we’re going to have to go with Apple on this one for two reasons.  First, they obviously thought about snow and ice or the roof wouldn’t have a heating system in it to melt snow and ice.  And secondly, I don’t know how things work at your office, but where I nine-to-five it, outside consultants get only a small window into the work we do.  They are in no way informed of every aspect of what we do, or even given full details of the projects they are brought in to consult on.  They are told what they need to know.

The big golf clap here goes to the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin, who as usual, is the only journalist to actually do some real reporting here.  For that reason, his is the only article we’re linking to.  Yes, he spent half of his space on an tedious tangental moan about Apple’s secrecy, as if there haven’t been entire books written on the subject.  But up top, his article is the kind of “just the facts ma’am” that at one time made Chicago a writer’s town, and a powerhouse of journalism.

Back on point: icicles falling off of Chicago buildings is no big deal.  You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the atrial fibrillation caused by a 100-foot-long chunk of ice falling off an antenna at the John Hancock Center, and then careening down the face of the building — rushing past your windows — in a waterfall of icy cold death.

Or standing in The Shoreham staring into the darkness when a winter’s gale pries a three-story sheet of ice off The Regatta and smashes it to bits just inches from your face, protected by some apparently very sturdy glass.

Try getting the cat out from under the bed after one of those.

I know it will come as a surprise to people who live in a city where the National Weather Service issues a heat alert when it gets to 80 degrees, but this happens every winter.  To drive that point home, enjoy this photo gallery of falling ice signs taken at various buildings around downtown Chicago that aren’t the Apple Store.

Falling ice sign
Falling ice sign
Falling ice sign
Falling ice sign
Falling ice sign
Falling ice sign
Falling ice sign
Falling ice sign
Falling ice sign
Falling ice sign

 

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/02/left-coast-bloggers-baffled-by-winter-jump-ugly-on-chicagos-apple-store/

2018 Begins With a Flock of Cranes in Chicago’s Skyline

You may have seen it on New Year’s Eve, while standing out on the snow-packed sidewalk, sipping the last 312 from the emergency stash on the back porch, gazing up at the illegal neighborhood fireworks display and thinking that for one moment all is right with the world.  It’s the cranes in the sky over the city of Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who last year outed himself as a fan of construction cranes, noted in his Twitter account that in 2017 that 62 tower cranes operated in the City of Chicago.  That’s up from a Great Recession low of 12 not that many years ago.

In some circles, cranes in the air are seen as one measure of a city’s economic vitality.  Though cities like Seattle and New York beat our 62 mark, it’s still none too shabby a number.

Hizzonor included a video with his tweet showing various cranes around town. But the person who made the video doesn’t know the difference between a tower crane and a window washing hoist, so we’ll go with our own gallery of recent Chicago crane photos, courtesy of Loop Spy Greg.  Enjoy.

 

Construction crane (Courtesy of Loop Spy Greg)
Construction crane (Courtesy of Loop Spy Greg)
Construction crane (Courtesy of Loop Spy Greg)
Construction crane (Courtesy of Loop Spy Greg)

Construction crane (Courtesy of Loop Spy Greg)
Construction crane (Courtesy of Loop Spy Greg)
Construction crane (Courtesy of Loop Spy Greg)

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/01/02/2018-begins-with-a-flock-of-cranes-in-chicagos-skyline/

West Town Development Frenzy Jumps the Tracks

Earlier this month we told you about Sterling Bay’s plan for a new office building at 360 North Green Street.  Now the paperwork has officially been submitted to the City of Chicago.

Diagram of 360 North Green Street

Diagram of 360 North Green Street

In one way, the location makes perfect sense, as it is an extension of the massive land rush transforming West Town into Chicagoland’s leading tech hub.  (Would the last meat packer in the neighborhood please turn out the lights before going to cash your check?)  But in another way, it has a few oddities.

First, it’s on the other side of the Amtrak tracks that connect Union Station to the suburbs, Milwaukee, and eventually Seattle.  Sure, even though Peoria Street is split in two at this point, there’s still plenty of access across Green Street on the other side of the building.  But ask anyone living at the Riverbend condominiums if having a triple set of train tracks running through your front yard is a problem, and you’ll probably get a different answer.

As a point of interest, that three-block-long stretch of unkempt shrubbery running along the tracks from this location at Green Street all the way out to Morgan Street is part of this property.  It’s not listed for development in any way, but it makes the property map look like a frenched lamp chop.

Regardless, San Francisco’s Gensler was hired to put together a building for this block, and the result is a 21-story organized as a pair of adjacent vertical planes, with one superseding the other.  Like books on a shelf, or one person helping another navigate the snowy Green Street rail crossing.

  • Operating address: 360 North Green Street
  • Address: 352-372 North Green Street
  • Address: 833-857 West Kinzie Street
  • Address: 357-373 North Peoria Street
  • Address: 358-360 North Peoria Street
  • Address: 362 North Sangamon Street
  • Address: 363 North Sangamon Street
  • Address: 363 North Morgan Street
  • Developer: Green Kinzie, LLC
  • For realsies: Sterling Bay
  • Architecture firm: Gensler
  • Net site area: 61,900 square feet
  • Floor area ratio: 8.1 (5.0 base + 3.1 bonus)
  • Maximum height: 298 feet
  • Roof height: 256 feet
  • Setback at 21st floor
  • Retail space: 17,674 square feet
  • Automobile parking: 256 spaces
  • Garage access: via West Kinzie Street
  • Loading docks: 3
  • Office entrance: via West Kinzie Street
  • Green roof: 15,415 square feet

Diagram of 360 North Green Street
Diagram of 360 North Green Street
Diagram of 360 North Green Street
Diagram of 360 North Green Street
Diagram of 360 North Green Street
Diagram of 360 North Green Street
Diagram of 360 North Green Street
Diagram of 360 North Green Street

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2017/12/28/amtrak-hugging-360-north-green/