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The new Chicago developments we visited in 2016

Here’s a quick recap of the places we got to check out this year

The interior of an event venue. The walls are yellow and the ceiling is wooden with a carved design. There are columns. Nick Fochtman

Like last year, Chicago witnessed several high profile hotel and apartment tower openings in 2016. However, the development boom didn’t stop in the downtown area. Developers have been busy delivering new rental developments and hotels in neighborhoods like the West Loop, Wicker Park, and Fulton River District. Even neighboring Oak Park is getting in on the action and saw the completion of its tallest tower yet. In no particular order, here’s a look at some of the developments we checked out this year.

Nick Fochtman

Wolf Point West

The opening of the bKL-designed Wolf Point West was yet another milestone in the current downtown apartment boom. Standing at 48 stories and delivering 509 apartments, the tower wasn’t the biggest rental development to open in recent years, but it’s representative of things to come. Two more towers are planned to join it at the underutilized Wolf Point site in coming years.

Marquee at Block 37 apartments Nick Fochtman

Marquee at Block 37

Developers of the new apartment tower at Block 37 have high hopes for the project. With 690 units, the SCB-designed apartment tower, officially titled Marquee at Block 37, is the largest rental project to hit the Loop in many, many years. The completion of the new apartment addition comes at a time when there are more options than ever for downtown renters, but the new development may help breathe some much needy life into the sleepy Block 37 shopping center.

The Parker

Located in the booming Fulton Market District, The Parker is really the first rental development of its caliber to be delivered to the area since major office tenants like Google and SRAM moved into the neighborhood. Thanks to its arcing design from Booth Hansen, the majority of units are provided with an the eastward skyline view.

LondonHouse

Chicago’s most anticipated hotel opening of 2016, the LondonHouse delivered 452 guest rooms and multiple bar and lounge areas in the Alfred Alschuler-designed London Guarantee & Accident Building and a new glassy addition designed by Chicago’s Goettsch Partners. The building’s ornamental cupola located at the 23rd floor was even renovated and repurposed as an exclusive space.

Nick Fochtman

Kenect

The new apartment development at the corner of the busy Grand, Milwaukee, and Halsted intersection was neither the most grand nor glossy opening of the year, but it’s a significant one in the sense that it’s representative of the new flood of transit-oriented developments currently being built along the Blue Line. With hip decor and art from locals like Hebru Brantley and JC Rivera, the Pappageorge Haymes-designed project is certainly looking to capitalize on the young and affluent renter.

Nick Fochtman

Vantage Oak Park

As the apartment boom has started to reshape the downtown Chicago’s skyline and streetscape, some near suburbs are beginning to see the effects of the latest building boom through the construction of new, tall rental developments. Oak Park may be best known for its priceless collection of homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and other Prairie School architects, but Chicago’s next door neighbor is beginning to “grow up” with the completion of new high-rise developments.

Nick Fochtman

Burlington Room at Union Station

Union Station is undergoing a major overhaul which is restoring the long-neglected former women’s lounge along with adding a new Metropolitan Lounge for Amtrak passengers. Thanks to recent renovation efforts, the old Burlington Room’s ornate ceiling, columns, and French block murals have been carefully brought back to their former grandeur.

Nick Fochtman

The Robey

Located in the old Northwest Tower that stands over the center of the Wicker Park neighborhood, the new Robey boutique hotel has transformed the art deco office building into a trendy hotel with 69 rooms. The project marks one of the biggest hotel openings outside of the downtown area in recent years. And like its competition in the West Loop and elsewhere, this hotel sports a rooftop deck space offering sweeping views of the city.