Located in a neighborhood in the midst of transition, the stretch of Orleans between Chicago Avenue and Division Street is no longer just a place to park off-duty taxi cabs. The developers of the Niche 905 Apartments—a new 18-story luxury rental building at 905 N. Orleans—describe the area as “the trisection of Chicago’s River North, Old Town, and Gold Coast.” While certainly an accurate description, two decades ago the area had a more concise name—Cabrini Green.
With the infamous public housing towers long gone and the aforementioned adjacent neighborhoods pushing ever closer, Niche 905 and its newer high-rise neighbors are redefining this underdeveloped corner of downtown Chicago. The new boutique tower provides the latest in tenant amenities and an early look at the kind of projects that will reshape Chicago’s Near North Side in the years to come.
According to developers Ascend Real Estate Group and Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation, the 202-unit development addresses a growing demand for “Near North luxury living” and draws its ‘Niche’ name from its specific place in the market. With pricing starting at $2,000 per month for convertibles, $2,435 for one-bedrooms, $3,665 for two-bedrooms and $6,000 for three-bedrooms, the development certainly has company at this point and is competitive with The Hudson several blocks to the southwest.
Designed by Chicago-based FitzGerald Associates Architects, Niche is clad is dark, highly reflective glass with its balconies arranged in a staggered pattern for increased visual interest. Above its 167-car parking podium, the tower steps back from the street and nearby elevated CTA tracks at its fifth floor.
The building is the latest apartment development to embrace the trend of providing an oversized first floor lobby space. Instead of a cramped front desk and elevator bank, it provides residents with ground floor amenities such as a coffee bar, business center, fireplace, and seating areas. This level also features a dog run, storage room for more than 100 bicycles, and a yet to be leased 1,750 square-foot retail space.
Niche 905 has three model units on display including a convertible model furnished by CORT Furniture plus a pair of one- and two-bedroom models designed by Stanton Interior Concepts. In addition to the previously mentioned balconies, notable features in the apartments include oversized closets, upgraded under cabinet lighting, built-in wine racks, deep soaking tubs, and double vanities (even in the one bedroom unit).
While the units are nicely laid out and smartly decorated, your attention is immediately drawn to downtown Chicago’s skyline as it fills the floor-to-ceiling glass. Designed specifically without view-obstructing columns, the effect really works to the building’s advantage, especially with the sweeping vantage points afforded by the corner apartments.
The skyline really comes into its own on Niche 905’s 18th floor amenity level. While the building may be more “boutique” in its lower unit count, it offers full-sized amenities including a fitness center, yoga studio, entertainment room with a kitchen, outdoor pool, hot tub, and a sun deck with fire pit, grilling stations, and an outdoor bar.
Niche 905’s general manager Holly Hartley-Garcia, explains that the newest batch of developments is only the beginning for Chicago’s Near North neighborhood. “I feel like in the next few years this area has the potential to become like the next West Loop with so much available land to build on. I’m anticipating a major change.”