Fulton Market’s unrelenting appetite for new development is showing no sign of slowing as a team of developers eye a large mixed-use project for the 1200 block of West Fulton Market. The design is considerably smaller than an earlier concept for the site revealed at the height of 2017’s Amazon HQ2 craze—at time when ambitiously large proposals were quite routine.
Dubbed “Axis West at Fulton Market,” the latest plan comprises a pair of 300- and 240-foot towers containing over 600,000 square feet of office space, 100,000 square feet of retail, two public plazas, and parking for 335 cars, according to a zoning application filed with the city. The project comes from co-developers the Ryan Companies and IBT Group and is designed by architecture firm CallisonRTKL.
By comparison, the previous design from then-partners IBT Group and LAMB Properties would have occupied the entire block and included 1.2 million square feet of office, retail, and hotel space as well as 700 parking spaces. The new plan would take up about half of the block—preserving the low-rise buildings along Elizabeth Street and a plot of open space at the corner of Carroll and Racine.
“It’s a more focused design,” Gary Pachucki of IBT Group tells Curbed. “It’s more scalable and manageable, and we think its fits the neighborhood better.” The developer plans to move forward with the project on “spec” and begin construction with or without a major tenant lined up. “Obviously we are looking for tenants, but we’re not contingent on that,” says Pachucki.
The still-massive development at 1200 W. Fulton will require a zoning change from the city, but aims to break ground next fall, according to its developers. It will enter an increasingly crowded market alongside an unprecedented number of office projects like 167 N. Green, 333 N. Green, 320 N. Sangamon, 318 N. Carpenter, 1000 W. Carroll, 800 W. Fulton, Fulton East, and West End on Fulton—to name a few.
If that wasn’t enough, prolific Fulton Market developer Sterling Bay recently filed a new zoning application for a 14-story commercial building to rise across the street from 1200 W. Fulton at 1200 W. Carroll. Designed by Gensler, that project will top out at 227 feet and contain retail and office space plus 90 parking spaces, according to the filing.
Toby Veit, an executive with the Ryan Companies, tells Crain’s that he believes the neighborhood has the momentum to absorb upcoming projects like 1200 W. Fulton. “While there’s a good amount of supply, the demand is being met,” said Veit.
These new buildings are the latest in a decade-long string of projects that transformed Chicago’s Fulton Market District from a gritty meatpacking hub to a trendy mixed-use playground for by tech workers, affluent renters, and guests of boutique hotels.