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Rendering shows six-story mixed-user replacing vintage Old Town buildings

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While not final, the image gives a good indication of what’s headed to Wells Street

Back in April, news of New York-based Jenel Management’s acquisition of Old Town’s quaint former Bistrot Margot building plus two adjacent properties raised a few eyebrows. While it was reported that Jenel would most likely replace the existing structures at 1435-1443 N. Wells with a new mixed-use, multi-story, multi-family residential development, the new building’s appearance and how it would front Old Town’s most visible thoroughfare was really anyone’s guess. A recent rendering by NORR Architects, however, provides a glimpse of what is planned.

The single image shows a six-story building divided into three distinct facades. According to NORR principal George Sorich, a difference in floor heights made the adaptive reuse of the existing low-rise structures unworkable. The new development’s upper portion is roughly the same height as the neighboring building at 1445 N and is set a distance back from ground-floor retail space fronting Wells. The relatively large balconies point to either condominium units or high-end rental apartments. While the latter is more likely, it is not necessarily a foregone conclusion as Chicago’s condo market continues to rebound.

The redevelopment of Bistrot Margot and its neighbors isn’t the only change coming to the heart of Old Town. Just down the street at 1529 N. Wells, O’Brien’s restaurant announced that it will close on August 31st for roughly 18 months. A long-time neighborhood staple, the restaurant and bar will be demolished and will find a new home inside the recently-approved 200-room boutique hotel slated to rise in its place. The somewhat controversial 13-story project will also see the loss of the vintage 3-story Old Town Oil building at 1520 N. Wells St.