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Update: Is this the long-discussed Equinox tower for Chicago’s West Loop?

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A set of images appear to show what may be a 369-foot tower planned for Randolph Street


Though first reported in 2015, a planned 369-foot combination hotel/condo tower under the Equinox fitness club banner in Chicago’s booming West Loop neighborhood has managed to remain a mystery when it comes to what the building would look like. Expected to contain 145 hotel rooms topped by 20 for-sale condominium units, the tower slated for 723-729 W. Randolph Street may have broken cover this week on the development-watching forum SkyscraperPage. User ‘spyguy’ uploaded a set of four images showing a contemporary tower with serrated east and west facades that certainly appear to fit the bill.

The Equinox project comes from Related Midwest, one of Chicago’s busiest real estate developers. The firm has a packed plate building the 70-story One Bennett Park in Streeterville, putting the finishing touches on the 30-story Landmark West Loop apartment tower, redeveloping the historic Lathrop Homes, and drafting the future plans of the defunct Chicago Spire site and 62 acres of riverfront real estate in Chicago’s South Loop.

For the West Loop hotel/condo project, it was reported by Crain’s that Related had tapped New York-based Handel Architects to oversee the design. Related previously partnered with Handel on the glassy Wacker Drive luxury apartment tower known as OneEleven.

Prior to Related, Equinox, and Handel’s involvement, a previous plan for the site called for a 370-foot, 220-unit tower designed by architecture firm SMDP Studio. Proposed with an automated parking system that loaded and dispatched cars from berths like a giant vending machine, the ultimately unrealized project was approved by the Chicago City Council in 2014.

SMDP’s old design for a 220-unit tower with “robotic parking.”
SMDP Studio

Despite the recently leaked renderings appearing to mirror the Equinox project description from 2015, there is no indication that these images are official or from Handel (see update below). Curiously, one of the renderings has also appeared on the website of a Shanghai-based digital imaging company. The Chinese-language site, however, provides no information regarding the project nor the client.

The ‘Restaurant Row’ site of the proposed Equinox tower was cleared of several dilapidated low-rise buildings last fall. Located just west of the Kennedy Expressway, the parcel is currently being used as a surface parking lot.

The proposal is far from the only West Loop hotel project on the immediate horizon. The recently completed Ace Hotel at the corner of Morgan and Carroll is currently “in previews” through the end of the month. Meanwhile, developer Shapack Partners has broken ground on a 12-story, 175-room Hotxon Hotel project at the corner of Lake and Green. The 12-story Nobu Hotel is slowly but surely rising at Peoria and Randolph.

Update: Equinox PR has reached out to clarify that there is no deal signed for a hotel project at this location. In addition, Equinox PR says that the “renderings are not real” but will keep Curbed updated if and when the group does confirm details for a possible project in Chicago.