The exterior of 500 N Lake Shore Drive has been properly examined, to the point where there's nothing but landscaping left to document. So on a fine Thursday afternoon, Curbed booked a date to glimpse the interiors of the Solomon Cordwell Buenz-designed 500-unit apartment building. Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest, and Tricia Van Horn, VP of Marketing, took us through the finished spaces in the lower half of the 47-story tower set to attain occupancy May 15. Bailey stressed that no pre-leasing was conducted because Related wanted prospective tenants to witness the completed structure first hand. And in fact, the building does hold power over the visitor. A monumental (and well-staffed) lobby ushers tenants up a floating staircase to the elevators. In doing so, one gets a dose of the lakefront, Lake Point Tower, and the Drive right off the bat. At this point Bailey remarked that tenants can watch "Chicago's decision-makers" roll into town and drivers can watch the building while stuck in gridlock. It was a conscious design decision, and perhaps even a marketing one.
Up on the amenity floor (12th) are a lot of competing spaces, but a sensible layout organized around a "main street" for foot-traffic keeps clashes in usage to a minimum. A computer room, rental event space, library, and innovative theater (interchangeable options for sitting and standing) are segregated from the general lounge/gaming area and the outdoor pool deck beyond. Speaking of the deck, it's the only unfinished common space to date, but should be ready for Memorial Day. Another key component is the professional Equinox gym, open to residents only. Equinox is a sister company to Related, thus the special arrangement. One inherent advantage that contributes to the amenity floor's success is the unusually potent panorama obtained from a relatively low height. There's great clearance to the west for a broad city view, and a good breadth of lakefront within range as well.
Our next stop was the 28th floor and its model studio, one-bed, and two-bed units. In keeping with a "New York" sensibility, a notion Bailey trotted out more than once, the units average just 800 square feet. The allure is in the efficient layout, high-quality finishes (particularly in the kitchen), and near-universal lake views. The purpose of model units is to key in on the lifestyles of varied renters, and the showcased decor across several spaces did that pretty expertly. Bailey expressed Related's interest in not only attracting young, hip, upwardly-mobile urban denizens, but also the "North Shore empty nester". Those are both sensible target groups, since it takes $1795/month just to get a foot in the door. Leasing began just days ago, occupancy starts in two weeks, and the upper floors will be introduced in late summer or early fall. For the full rundown on leasing, floor plans, and amenities, visit the official site.
·A Final Check-In With 500 North Lake Shore Drive [Curbed Chicago]
·500 N Lake Shore Drive [Official]