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More 19th-Century River North Row Houses Could Soon Disappear

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The old buildings at 20-22 W. Ontario could give way to new condos

River North’s limited stock of vintage buildings looks likely to continue shrinking as yet another 19-century pair of row houses is being marketed as a tear-down for immediate redevelopment. Located at 20-22 W. Ontario — or just a couple doors west of the Redhead Piano Bar for those more keen on landmark navigation — the four-story masonry row houses turned commercial condos are believed to date back to the 1880s. The current asking price is $6 million.

The site’s DX-5 zoning allows a five-story structure as-of-right without any city bonuses or approvals. According to Crain’s, listing agent Leo Clark of Gold Coast Realty envisions just that: a five-story structure featuring ground level retail topped by four full-floor luxury condos each asking roughly $2.4 million. City zoning approvals aside, anything taller would also likely draw the ire of the neighboring high-rise Caravel Condominium Association located at 635 N. Dearborn. The owners of the four existing commercial condos are reportedly all onboard with the sale.