The Chicago downtown construction boom has been largely driven by the rebounding economy and the swell of new residents looking to rent. Developers have been capitalizing on the rental boom over the last few years, and one of the highest profile projects to hit the downtown area during this cycle is the apartment tower at Block 37. Dubbed Marquee at Block 37, the new tower has just welcomed its first residents earlier this month.
With 690 units, the apartment tower at Block 37 is the largest rental project to hit the Loop in many, many years. Real estate insiders and downtown retailers have high hopes for the project, which is expected to help breath life into the otherwise quiet Block 37 shopping mall that spans an entire city block. The completion of the new SCB-designed apartment addition at Block 37 comes at a time when there are more options than ever for downtown renters. Competition among new buildings is stiff, so what will set Block 37 apart?
First, it’s worth noting that the apartments at Block 37 are not cheap. The base price for a convertible is around $2,300 per month while a top of the line three-bedroom unit can cost nearly $8,000 per month. Because of the shape and sheer size of the building, there are 42 different floor plans at Marquee. And as far as the percentage of apartments currently leased? Marquee reps wouldn’t comment on that.
The Marquee tower features many of the same amenities that you’ll find at other new higher-end apartment developments—things like a "screening room," a gym, a "business center," however the highlight is the building’s multiple outdoor deck spaces. Because the tower is in the middle of the Loop, the views from the various outdoor spaces are pretty spectacular.
The building features an outdoor terrace space on its main floor (fifth floor) that overlooks State Street. The space has a fire pit and plenty of seating. Reps at Marquee say that they will leave the deck open through the winter—or at least as long as possible during the cold winter months. Then on the other side of the building, you’ve got a deck space that overlooks the Daley Center and Daley Plaza. This space features a pool, grills, and a few cabanas. Up on the 38th floor, you’ve got another outdoor space, but this time it’s a terrace that turns into an observation deck. The deck winds around the building, offering unobstructed views towards the Loop’s northern, southern, and eastern ends.
But beyond the terrace spaces, Marquee reps say that the building’s location, its access to the Loop’s pedway system, and its connection to the Block 37 shopping mall are other important highlights. Residents that work in buildings connected to the Loop pedway system can avoid traffic and the city’s infamously extreme weather by walking to work underground. The building also features 150 below-grade parking spaces, which are being rented out for $375 per month each.
Construction workers and building staff were still putting the finishing touches on the amenity spaces while we were touring the building, so there’s certainly a good chance that some of these spaces will look a bit different in the coming weeks. And while the building is competing with some of the priciest rental projects in the city, the finishes in the apartments we visited don’t match those found in other buildings. One other thing that will be interesting to see is how the occupants of 690 apartments share the amenity spaces. The outdoor spaces and amenity areas are spacious, but could easily become crowded considering the sheer number of residents that will occupy the building.
Marquee at Block 37 makes a big splash in the Chicago rental market for its size and location in the heart of the Loop. There may be other more luxurious rentals in the downtown area, but the new apartment tower at Block 37 certainly has some advantages over others in terms of convenience, connection to public transit, and views. It may be many more years until the Loop sees the construction of a similar project.
- Mapping the 40 High-Rises Under Construction in Chicago Right Now [Curbed Chicago]
- Checking in on the Under-Construction Block 37 Rental Tower [Curbed Chicago]
- Construction of Block 37 Apartment Tower Officially Underway [Curbed Chicago]