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Exploring the Construction Boom Happening Throughout the Near North Side

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As we head into the dead of winter, crews at dozens of construction sites throughout the city are working at a brisk pace to deliver hundreds of new residences to the greater downtown area. Developers don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon, and with the city now seeking proposals for the massive Cabrini-Green area, the city could be witnessing even more construction. The South Loop is currently witnessing its own construction boom with multiple residential towers and the McCormick Place Entertainment District well underway. However, for today, we focus on the greater Near North area and the many projects that are on their way. Let's begin the tour.

Starting within the vicinity of the former Cabrini-Green public housing complex, the area is on now a roll with new construction on nearly every block. At 347 West Chestnut Street, a 28-story, 310-unit rental tower known as NEXT is beginning to tower over Orleans Street, visually taking the urban canyon north of Chicago Avenue. The Pappageorge Haymes-designed building being developed by Fifield Companies is now 22 floors high with glazing installed on the first three residential floors atop the five story podium. The infilling of glass between the horizontal bands of the reinforced concrete structure shows that painted concrete will indeed be a very pronounced visual element of the building's exterior when complete. Meanwhile across the street, Niche 905 is just now wrapping up foundation work and will reinforce the urbanization of the local streetscape in what was not long ago, a no man's land filled with vacant lots.

Previous NEXT coverage >>

At 625 West Division Street, an 18-story, 240-unit rental tower known as Xavier is finished and currently leasing. The building designed by GREC Architects was developed by Gerding Edlen, a Portland, Oregon based developer recently making major inroads into Chicago. Most of the the surrounding land adjacent to the recently finished tower was owned by the Chicago Housing Authority and was redeveloped as new low and mid-rise structures no higher than nine floors after the demolition of Cabrini Green's buildings. Xavier however was built on privately owned land and as such, stands out as the only high-rise on this stretch of Division Street.

Previous Xavier coverage >>

Further east on Division Street, foundation work is underway on The Sinclair, a 390-unit apartment tower designed by Solomon, Cordwell Buenz (SCB) which will rise 35 stories above the CTA Red Line's Clark and Division subway station. After two years of planning, community meetings and project redesigns, caisson drilling is now underway for the tower which will also feature a reestablished and enlarged Jewel grocery store when the building is complete in 2017. This project like Next, is also being developed by Fifield Companies.

Previous Sinclair coverage >>

At 4 East Elm, a boutique condo tower also designed by SCB, is nearly complete. The 25-story building will feature only 35 units.

Previous 4 East Elm coverage >>

At 833 North Clark Street, a 31-story apartment tower with 373 units is now three stories above ground, filling in what used to be a surface parking lot and drive through facility for a neighboring bank. An older stand-alone three story residential building at the north end of the block at Chestnut Street was included as part of the project and will be preserved. The project is being developed as a joint venture between Ryan Companies and Lincoln Property Company and was designed by Ryan A+E with Antunovich Associates as the architect of record.

Previous 833 North Clark coverage >>

Immediately across the street, the southwest corner of Clark and Chestnut Streets has been excavated for a cluster of luxury townhomes.

Previous Pritzker row homes coverage >>

At 750 North Hudson, the 24-story rental building with 240 units being developed by Onni Group is finishing up work on the basement level which extends through much of the block long site. The elevator core is now at ground level and the tower located at the east of the block should start climbing skyward soon.

Previous 750 North Hudson coverage >>

At 400 West Huron, a boutique 15-story condo building with 26 units has completed foundation work is ready to start rising. The Berkelhamer Architects-designed project was a blockbuster seller for developer Smithfield Properties who sold out the entire building before construction began. Demolition of the existing buildings required the relocation of Smithfield's offices which will soon find a new home on the ground floor of another boutique condo project coming soon to the northwest corner of Chicago Avenue and Wells Street.

Previous 400 West Huron coverage >>

At 9 West Walton Street is another luxury condo project which just finished foundation work. Known as No. 9 Walton, the project by JDL Development is an ultra-luxury building designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) featuring only 66 units in a 35-story tower. Because the tower features no parking podium, foundation work took longer than usual as a secant wall was installed around the perimeter of the site, serving as earth retention while the site's interior is excavated and will eventually serve as part of the building's overall foundation.

Previous No. 9 Walton coverage >>

At 720 North LaSalle, the bKL-designed 38-story apartment tower with 298 units has reached the sixth floor in the middle of the block along Superior Street while the five-story podium structure fronting LaSalle Street has since topped out. The project is taking the place of River North's Howard Johnson Inn.

Previous 720 North LaSalle coverage >>

To the south along Wells Street, two projects across the street from each other continue to move forward. At 640 North Wells, the former site of Ed Debevic's, potholing is underway by work crews who are removing foundations of the recently demolished restaurant. The rental project, also being developed by JDL and designed by HPA will stand in at 22 stories and 251 units.

Previous 640 North Wells coverage >>

Meanwhile to the east, the former Gino's East restaurant has given way to foundation work for a new 39-story apartment tower at 167 West Erie Street, with 444 units designed by Loewenberg Architects and is being developed by Magellan.

Previous 167 West Eerie coverage >>

And lastly at Grand and Milwaukee avenues, Akara Partners' new 14-story rental building dubbed Kenect topped out at the end of November and is currently heading towards completion as the project's second building, a four-story structure directly next to the CTA Blue Line station entrance, is now being framed in steel. As the final photos shows, the building has made impact on the Milwaukee Avenue streetscape when looking towards downtown, complementing the new visual end cap provided by the 53-story River Pointe office tower, also now topped out in the West Loop.

Previous Kenect coverage >>

Shawn Ursini

·Construction Watch archives [Curbed Chicago]