After trumpeting the first round of occupancy at the mid-restoration Randolph Tower City Apartments earlier this week, the next logical step was to take a tour. And that's just what we did, joining Carolyn Pelissero, Partner at Boldface Communications Group and Ken Barnes, Principal at Randolph Tower City Development on a race through the building. If you'll recall, the 45-story 1929 Randolph Tower was built for offices. A host of famous characters graced its lobby through the years, and an ode to that history is present in a ground floor photo gallery depicting the likes of Miles Davis and John Dillinger. The front of the house is an entirely different beast now, with prevailing bright and whimsical modern decor. Behind the lobby and past the photo gallery, Barnes directed us to a closed off area that will contain historic architectural elements. That's the theme of the building—new coexisting with old. And for the most part, they get along.
Heading for the guts of the building, Barnes and Pelissero took us 'round to see the finished product first. Exactly half of the 312 apartments are ready for occupancy. We stepped into one- and two-bed model units, and the thing that popped out most was their aesthetic detachment from the more historically-preserved common areas. The reason for this is simple and unavoidable: the old floor plates—configured for offices—were of little use as a framework for residences. Consequently, there's not a lot to set the units apart from your average new construction, but there's also nothing to gripe about. According to this week's press release, rents begin at $1,500 for studios and run to $6,000 for the best of the penthouses. Additionally, 20% of the units are designated affordable.
The other face of the building is still very raw and a hub of construction activity. Donning our hard hats, we shot up to the 32nd floor and worked our way down. According to Barnes, floors 28 through 43 are set aside for "penthouse" units, a mix of simplex and duplex. Why so many floors worth? Well, because starting at the 28th floor, things change structurally. As you see in the rendering, the main tower tapers to a much skinnier one above the 27th floor. Looking down from the 32nd floor, you see the pitched glass roof of the 27th floor pool house. That's where we ventured next.
The pool, as explained to us, is entirely original, and the work being done in the adjacent spaces will bring a lounge, arcade, outdoor deck, and other amenities into the mix. Dropping a few more levels, we reached the enormous and long-neglected ballroom. It would be a resounding icon of ruin porn were it not well on its way to reuse. Also, it will no longer be a ballroom but a fitness center. Sign of the times.
Conducting their work in cycles, Village Green wisely allowed for a partial opening while nearby, work rages on. It's an amusing contrast when you jump from one side to the other, but it's not what tenants will see. The second half is expected to finish up in another 12 months.
·Developer Talks about Randolph Tower Rehab, Interior Design [Curbed Chicago]
·Official Site: Randolph Tower City Apartments