We just got through a week where a tremendous amount of new residential development was announced for the South Loop, and it looks like one slipped in just late enough to miss it on Friday. We knew that Oxford Capital Group, the fellows behind the Godfrey Hotel and the new LondonHouse hotel in the old London Guarantee Building, had recently bought the Essex Inn at Michigan Avenue and 8th Street and were planning to flip the low-rise annex next to the hotel into a highrise residential tower, but we didn't know what it would look like -- until now. Crain's has the first imagery of Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture's design for the 48-story apartment tower that would bring another 388 units to the neighborhood. HPA's design puts the bulk of the building on top of 8-story struts, a design that would be a striking addition to the Michigan Avenue streetwall facing Grant Park, and is likely intended to preserve some southern views for the hotel.
This recent flood of new proposals surfacing all at once is likely due to a new set of rules around the Affordable Housing rules that will go into effect next month. Anything submitted to the city after mid-October will be subject to the new rules, which ramp up the obligation of residential development to actually include lower-cost units and makes it harder for developers to buy their way out of the requirement. Whether or not these changes to the ordinance will be good for the city, those new requirements would likely change the math and business model for any project that's already in the design phase, so they're now rushing to get their plans submitted to the city rather than having to go back to redesign their projects with the new requirements in mind.
Will there be even more surprise unveilings before next month? We'll have to wait and see!