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A Look at the New Luxury Condo Tower Planned for River North

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River North's latest development proposal was unveiled last night to a packed house at the Godfrey Hotel. The property located at 300 West Huron Street, adjacent to Franklin Street and the elevated tracks of the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) Brown and Purple Lines, is currently being used as a surface parking lot.

The proposal comes from JFJ Development and features 71 luxury condominiums and 71 parking stalls in a modern 24-story tower drawn up by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture. HPA has been quite busy with local work in the latest round of development proposals including a 54 story apartment tower next to the Essex Inn at 800 South Michigan Avenue the nearby soon to be underway 22 story tower that will replace the Ed Debevic's restaurant. JFJ and HPA have previously partnered on four other developments, including three nearby buildings on Superior Street located at 101, 110 and 150 West Superior as well as the Harper Court project in Hyde Park.

The site is currently zoned DX-5, which will be maintained while the project team submits an application for a planned development (PD). The PD will allow for the incorporation of two density bonuses for a total combined floor area ratio of seven. The bonuses will be awarded through financial contributions to the city's Affordable Housing Trust Fund and a capital improvements program with the CTA.

The project's initial design called for a slightly taller tower placed on the western edge of the site along Orleans Street. However, the tower was moved eastward into the middle of the block at the request of Alderman Reilly, positioning the bulk of the structure away from the Tuxedo Park townhouse complex across Orleans to the west. The tower's western facade is now 124'-6" away from the Orleans sidewalk with the podium edge set back 28 feet as well, allowing for a ground level pocket park. The west end of the podium will contain a two-story retail space fronting onto the park while concealing the parking from view. The parking is consolidated mostly into the second floor, allowing for a shorter podium height of approximately 35 feet and keeping it as low as possible. All of the 71 parking stalls have the ability to add a mechanical vehicle lift to create a second parking space, if desired by individual residents who will purchase the spaces. The exterior of the podium will be clad in stone and metal panels, with a color palate of mostly gray tones with splashes of green used as an accent color. An additional retail allocation towards the east end of the site provides for a total of 16,000 square feet of commercial space.

With a high walk score of 98 cited in the meeting, it was noted that River North, and p location adjacent to the CTA's Chicago/Franklin elevated station in particular, will appeal to transit riders — a key point that was considered when designing the building with a low podium and an active ground floor. All of the parking and loading access would be from the alley while existing curb cuts to the surface lot would be removed.

The condos start with two bedroom units spanning 2,000 square feet and would then range up to 5,000-square-foot penthouses. The tower floorplate would be relatively small in size compared to the block-long site and would be arranged in a H-shape formation, providing for eight corners per floor and a differentiation among the floor plans. The residences will start at the fifth floor and have four units per floor with a mix of two- and three-bedroom unit up to level 16. On the 17th and 18th floors, there would be two units per floor, each of which is a three-bedroom arrangement. Floors 19 and higher would then be composed of penthouse units. While no pricing is available yet at this stage in the process, it is envisioned the starting range for the condos will be $600-$700 per square foot.

The amenity deck will be unusually large for a boutique condo project with just 71 units and includes a large landscaped rooftop on the podium with a outdoor pool, grilling area, community garden, lawn and separate dog run as well as 1/8 mile running track looping the tower footprint.

The plans shown this evening were still very preliminary and may change as the project moves through the approval process. Construction is anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2016 or early 2017, provided financing and zoning entitlements fall in to place.

Shawn Ursini

·River North archives [Curbed Chicago]