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Checking in on two high-rise projects in Chicago’s West Loop Gate area

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Crews have topped-off a pair of yet-to-open towers along Desplaines Street

A rendering of the tenant deck of the under-construction office tower at 625 W. Adams.
SCB

While the development boom taking place west of the Kennedy Expressway is nothing short of unprecedented, the so-called ‘West Loop Gate’ east of the highway is also seeing its share of new construction. On the heels of two neighboring Class A office towers—River Point and 150 N. Riverside—recently opening a few blocks east, a pair of smaller high-rise developments are making their presence felt along Desplaines Street.

Home to both a high number of parking lots and a planned multi-phase redevelopment of Union Station, the transit-rich area between the Chicago River and the Kennedy is undoubtedly on the cusp of a major transformation.

EMME

GREC

↑ Located at 165 N. Desplaines, this 14-story apartment development broke ground in mid 2016. The project—now officially known as ‘EMME’—comes from Portland, Oregon-based Gerding Edlen Development and Chicago architecture firm GREC. It features 199 rental units and multiple amenities spaces including a party room, library, elevated pool deck, and rooftop urban farm.

Meanwhile, a planned street level landscaped plaza will become the new of home a bronze sculpture created to commemorate Chicago’s infamous 1886 Haymarket Massacre. The memorial was temporarily moved from its spot on Desplaines to Union Park for the duration of construction. EMME is set to open later this year.

Harry Carmichael
Harry Carmichael
Harry Carmichael
Harry Carmichael

625 W. Adams

SCB

↑ Replacing a surface parking lot serving Chicago’s Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, this 20-story office development also began construction in the middle of 2016. Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), the 432,000-square-foot building features a two-story lobby, ground floor retail, five levels of parking, and an outdoor terrace for tenants. Known by its address of 625 W. Adams, the project is expected to open in the first quarter of 2018.

While most new office developments are typically contingent on first landing so-called anchor tenants before construction can begin, development partners White Oak Realty and CA Ventures are instead building 625 W. Adams “on spec.” Though somewhat risky, the project comes at a time when Chicago’s downtown office market is in a general position of strength. That being said, a nearby 40-story combination hotel/office project at 590 W. Madison is on indefinite hold until tenants can be secured.

Harry Carmichael
Harry Carmichael
Harry Carmichael
Harry Carmichael