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River North Condo Tower Moves Forward But Construction is Months Away

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Work is underway at the corner of Chicago and Wells, but not on a high-rise

The northwest corner of Chicago and Wells has been abuzz with activity since 808 Wells, a 24-story luxury condo building from developer Smithfield Properties, was approved by the city this winter. With the rapid demolition of the site’s vintage two- and three-story buildings and new concrete columns rising in their place, one easily gets the impression that work on the tower has already started — bumping Chicago’s current number of high-rises under construction from 40 up to 41.

A permit search revealed that work is instead underway on a one-story, 3,700-square-foot temporary condo sales center. According to workers at the site, this interim structure will house offices and model units and is expected to stand for maybe eight months before it is knocked down and work on the tower can begin in earnest.

Though originally described as 55 units when it went before the city for approval in December, 808 Wells now features 50 condos sized from 2,100 to 5,000 square feet, according to the project’s official website. Units will be pricy — starting around $1 million and topping out at a cool $4.5 million. Though the building's 105-car garage may seem like overkill for just 50 homes located close to mass transit, buyers at this price point expect the option to store more than one vehicle on-site.

Occupancy is slated for 2017 with a more precise delivery date based on the pace of sales. If Smithfield’s sold-out high-end condo project at 400 W Huron is any indication of current demand, units in 808 may go rather quickly.