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Redesigned South Loop Tower Among Projects Approved by Plan Commission

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The May meeting of the Plan Commission approved nearly a dozen new projects

This month's meeting of the City of Chicago Plan Commission featured a packed agenda which included new development proposals from Uptown to Pullman. While all Planned Developments listed below were approved by the Commission, they must now pass the City's Zoning Board before heading to the full Chicago City Council for final approvals.

1050 W. Wilson

↑ This project from Cedar Street Companies will see the construction of a new eight-story Booth Hansen-designed building as well as the preservation and restoration of the neighboring historic orange-rated former Wilson Avenue Theatre building. The transit-oriented development includes just 16 parking stalls thanks to its proximity to the Wilson CTA station, which is undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration of its own.

171 N. Wabash

↑ If this seven-story proposal seems short for the Loop, it is because the site was a subarea of a pre-existing Planned Development that transferred a large amount of its allowable density to the plot that became the 42-story luxury rental tower at 73 East Lake. Originally planned as offices, the project came before the Plan Commission seeking approval to build 60 dwelling units with no additional on-site parking. The project will feature 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail along Wabash and resident access on East Benton Place.

1730 W. Wrightwood

↑ This residential project which would replace a shuttered furniture outlet in Lincoln Park has been in the works for two years. In the process, the scope of the project shrunk from 105 units down to 90 before finally settling on a 76 unit mix of apartments and condos spread across two separate buildings. The Pappageorge Haymes-designed complex features a 1:1 parking ratio of 76 spots.

1350 S. Union

↑ Slated for a vacant lot near the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago’s University Village neighborhood, this development located at 1350 S Union was approved to rise to 79 feet and include residential 99 units plus 99 parking spaces. The building features pedestrian access off of 14th Street and will include rooftop photovoltaic panels in place of the usual green roof.

11127-29 S. Langley

↑ Bumped from last month’s crowded agenda, the Pullman Artspace Lofts project aims to create 38 affordable work/live spaces for artists across a pair of 19th century block houses and new three-story structure design VOA Associates in the heart of historic Pullman. The Artspace Lofts will feature 17 parking spaces as well as shared community spaces for art classes, exhibitions, and workshops. The project earned the blessing of the Chicago Commission on Landmarks in March and passed the Plan Commission by a unanimous vote.

1401 East 53rd Street

↑ This Hyde Park project proposed by SMART/Olympia would see the construction of a seven-story boutique hotel. Designed by GREC Architects, the development will feature 100 hotel keys, a ground floor restaurant, and rooftop amenity area. Parking is handled by a 15-spot lot and a valet service which will utilize other nearby lots and garages. This is the second boutique style hotel to recently come to the Hyde Park neighborhood, demonstrating a local demand for such establishments.

100 W. Huron

↑ While developer Akara Partners had originally eyed this empty River North lot for a condo project, the plan for 100 W Huron has shifted to 200 hotel rooms under a yet-to-be-announced flag. The glassy 180-foot building is designed by NORR Architects and will feature 5,000 square feet of retail and zero on-site parking.

1136 S. Wabash

↑ This proposed 26-story residential tower from CA Ventures has grown by one floor since last year as it aims to replace a South Loop surface lot with 320 dwelling units. Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, the 303-foot building will feature retail along Wabash and resident amenity spaces on both the 5th and 26th floors. The tower’s base includes 142 parking spaces (reduced from 151) dressed-up by a novel combination of cladding materials.

800 S. Michigan

↑ The proposed 620-foot residential addition to Chicago’s recently landmarked Essex Inn hotel was shown at May’s meeting of the Plan Commission with a substantially revised design. While the overall height of the Oxford Capital project remains unaltered, the cross bracing and bold structural stilts of the previous design have been replaced by a more generic "Sliced Minimalism" look.

Though certainly less daring than before, the HPA-designed building expresses strong verticality and does a fantastic job of hiding its parking garage behind active uses. According to the developer, the redesign was not a case of value-engineering but rather a move prompted by the city, possibly to comply with the amended Historic Michigan Boulevard District guidelines.