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Taking a look at high-rise construction in Chicago’s South Loop

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Eleven high-rise projects are either on the way or have recently opened

Photos by Harry Carmichael

Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood continues to buzz with construction activity. Thanks to its proximity to the city’s central business district, top parks, cultural attractions, and multiple colleges, the area has been especially hot for new rental projects. South Loop hotel construction is also strong as the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority works to expand and transform McCormick Place into a new entertainment and hospitality hub dubbed ‘McCormick Square.’

Here is the latest look at eleven projects under-construction or newly completed in Chicago’s hot South Loop.

↑ One Grant Park

Expected to rise well over 800 feet into the air, One Grant Park will be impossible to miss when when it creates a new peak at the south end of downtown Chicago’s skyline. Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, the 76-story building broke ground in early 2017 and has been quickly climbing at the corner of Roosevelt and Indiana. The skyscraper will deliver 792 rental apartments. A second, taller twin tower is planned to the immediate west while the third and final phase of the project from developer Crescent Heights calls for low-rise town homes to the south.

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↑ Essex on the Park

After planting its roots this spring, the 56-story Essex on the Park tower at 808 S. Michigan Avenue is going vertical. The glassy 479-unit apartment tower designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture will eventually connect to the existing Essex Inn building. Under the plan from LondonHouse developer Oxford Capital, the mid-century structure will be remodeled, expanded from 254 to 271 guest rooms, and rebranded as the ‘Essex Hotel.’ Interestingly, the concrete pump for the upcoming 600-foot tower has been installed on the far side of the older hotel. The project is slated to be complete some time in 2019.

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↑ 1326 S. Michigan Avenue

Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), this 47-story apartment tower recently landed a full building permit. Replacing a parking lot along South Michigan Avenue between 13th and 14th streets, the tower is a joint venture between Murphy Development Group and Los Angeles-based CIM Group. In addition to 500 rental apartments, 1326 S. Michigan will also feature 7,500 square feet of ground floor retail and a relatively modest 188-car garage.

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↑ Eleven40

A second SCB-designed South Loop project is rising near the Roosevelt Red Line station. Previously known by its address of 1136 S. Wabash, the 26-story tower has been officially branded as Eleven40. A joint venture between CA Residential and developer Keith Giles, it will deliver 320 rental apartments, 141 garage spaces, 5,000 square feet of ground level commercial space, and a rooftop pool deck. Eleven40 is expected to welcome its first tenants next year.

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↑ 1407 on Michigan

Designed by architecture firm BKV Group and developed by Russland Capital Group, the mixed-use development headed to 1411 S. Michigan Avenue was recently renamed ‘1407 on Michigan.’ Rising 15 floors above street level, the project will feature 199 rental units and 40,000 square feet of commercial space to be anchored by an outpatient facility from Rush University Medical Center. It will also contain parking for 141 vehicles and resident amenities such as a yoga studio, basketball court, and outdoor swimming pool.

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↑ 1101 S. Wabash

Though slow to get going, the 29-story hotel development at 1101 S. Wabash has recently shifted gears and seen a lot more activity. Designed by local architect Lothan Van Hook DeStefano, the high-rise project from Hinsdale-based developer S.B. Yen Management Group features a 196-room Homewood Hilton, a separate 85-room extended stay hotel, ground floor retail space, and garage parking for 57 vehicles.

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↑ 30 East Apartments

Located at 30 E. Balbo—a street some Chicagoans are pushing to rename—this 16-story residential building from Solomon Cordwell Buenz recently opened its doors to renters. Catering to both students and working millennials, the 134-unit building aims to embrace “co-living” by combining apartment-style residences with a dorm-like communal experience. A second floor shared amenity space is located just above 30 East’s 8,000-square-foot street level retail space.

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↑ Alta Roosevelt

The 33-story high-rise at 801 S. Financial has topped-off and removed its construction crane. Known officially as Alta Roosevelt, the 496-unit rental project comes from architect Pappageorge Haymes Partners and certainly shares some design DNA with the K2 apartments in the Fulton River District. A portion of this development’s 348 parking spaces will be located below grade with the rest occupying a relatively small three-story podium topped by a pool and amenity deck.

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↑ Marriott Marquis

One of the largest Chicago hotel projects in years, the soon-to-open Marriott Marquis tower at McCormick Place will contain 1,205 guest rooms, event space, and a rooftop bar. Credit for the 39-story glassy building’s design is somewhat complicated with the project’s initial layout coming from Gensler and Anderson/Miller. The design-build team was then led by Clark Construction in collaboration with Goettsch Partners and Simeone Deary Design Group.

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↑ Hilton Garden Inn McCormick Center

The new Marriott project isn’t the only high-rise hotel taking shape near McCormick place. A three hotel project at 123 E. Cermak continues to climb skyward. Slated to contain a Hampton Inn, Home2 Suites, and Hilton Garden Inn, the project will offer a combined 466 guest rooms and a sizable retail and dining component. Developer/general contractor McHugh tapped Antunovich Associates to design the upcoming hospitality complex.

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↑ Ancora at Riverline

The first phase of the massive ‘Riverline’ mega-development continues to rise along the east bank of the Chicago River’s south branch. Known as Ancora, the 28-story apartment building designed by Perkins+Will is the first of eight waterfront buildings that will occupy the sprawling 14-acre vacant site bounded by Harrison, Roosevelt, Wells, and the Chicago River. When completed, the tower will contain 452 apartment units, an amenity deck, and a 230-vehicle parking garage.

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