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First new tower of Atrium Village redevelopment rises above Chicago’s Old Town

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The 32-story mixed-use building will eventually be joined by two even taller towers

Even from River North, Old Town Park is hard to miss.
Harry Carmichael

Towering over Chicago’s Near North and Old Town neighborhoods, the first new high-rise of the multi-phase Old Town Park project has become hard to miss. Located at the southwest corner of Division and Wells streets, the 32-story project is the first—and shortest—of three towers planned as part of the redevelopment of Chicago’s 1970’s Atrium Village mixed-income housing complex.

Designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) and developed by Vancouver-based Onni Group, the phase one building features 405 rental apartments and a retail component large enough for a grocery store.The building’s parking structure is a whopper with 342 spaces reserved for residential use plus 74 being made available to retail customers. Thankfully, the garage will be wrapped with active use for a more urban feel.

While residents are expected to move into Old Town Park’s phase one tower next summer, Onni has played things close to the vest regarding the timing of future phases. According to revised zoning paperwork filed with the City and reported by Chicago Architecture Blog, it seems phase two will call for a 39-story mixed-use tower at the corner of Wells and Hill streets. To the immediate west, a third skyscraper—also expected to rise 39 stories—will make up the third phase of the project.

Though originally slated to be replaced by a fourth high-rise, the 9-story original Atrium Village building at the northwest corner of the site is now expected to be reincorporated into the Old Town Park development—albeit with substantial interior and exterior renovations. Earlier plans for townhouses and a potential school building have been dropped from the latest plan.

Coupled with new mixed-income developments in the works for Cabrini Green, Old Town Park could be a catalyst for increased investment in public transit. Hopes are high that the influx of new residents and businesses could jump-start the long-discussed reconstruction of the CTA Brown/Purple Line stop at Division that was razed in 1949.

This existing 9-story will be spared and re-clad under Onni’s latest plan for the site.
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