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Tower Replacing Old Howard Johnson Inn Gets Public Debut

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In addition to the 41 story tower that would replace the pizza-adorned Gino's East building, a 38 story tower that would leave the old River North HoJo's crushed under its brick heel was also up for discussion at the neighborhood meeting that was hosted by Alderman Brendan Reilly last night. Over 100 River North residents and business owners gathered to discuss proposals for new developments at 720 N. LaSalle St. and 167 W. Erie St. Magellan Development Group and Mac Management plans for a 298-unit tower at the site of the Howard Johnson Inn at 720 N. LaSalle St. include roughly 12,000 square feet of retail, an amenity deck with a green roof and pool, as well as a tree-lined 8,400 square foot public park with hopes for a coffee or wine café with outdoor seating and a dog park.

The slender bKL Architecture designed apartment tower includes a palette of lighter tan and darker gray brick. bKL's Tom Kerwin said the proposal includes a mix of studio, convertible, one-bedroom and two bedroom residences. Units would be on the smaller side, and are designed to be "luxurious but affordable" — initial estimates put rents at about $3.40 per square foot.

When one resident expressed concern that the park's location on the block might leave it dark and shadowy at points during the day, Alderman Reilly vowed that the park would have the constant eye of residents in surrounding buildings like himself ("I call 9-1-1 more than anybody," he promised). If plans continue, construction could begin in early 2015 and be completed within 18 months.
This post was authored by Curbed Chicago contributor Megan Graham
· First Look: The Apartment Tower Replacing Howard Johnson's [Curbed Chicago]
· A 38 Story Tower May Replace River North's Howard Johnson [Curbed Chicago]