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Morris Adjmi’s 51-story Fulton Market condo tower makes its public debut

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The slender proposal calls for 300 for-sale residences

Image courtesy of Related Midwest

Developers took the wraps of a plan for a 51-story condominium tower in the middle of Chicago’s Fulton Market District at a public meeting Tuesday evening at 401 N. Morgan Street.

Partners Related Midwest, Tucker Development, and New York-based architect Morris Adjmi presented a slender tower that will push the boundaries of both West Loop neighborhood design and height.

The proposed high-rise, located at 170 N. Peoria, will be surrounded by a collection of ten restored low-rise buildings that comprise the 900 block of W. Randolph Street. Plans call for 300 condominium units, 300 well-concealed parking stalls, retail spaces at street level, and a podium-top indoor and outdoor amenity space.

Like other designs from architect Morris Adjmi, the proposal draws inspiration from the architectural details and textures of its surroundings. In this case, the building addresses its historic immediate neighbors and takes cues from Chicago’s infrastructure like its system of bridges and ‘L’ tracks.

“We first looked at creating a streetscape that would work within the context of the site,” said Adjmi. “For the building itself we opted for a very small footprint and a slender massing. We designed the facade in such a way that would give it a sense of scale. Instead of just a flat stack of floors, the exterior features articulated groupings that relate back to the infrastructure motif.”

The proposal hides parking and activates the street with new retail space behind a retractable facade system.
Image courtesy of Related Midwest

While recent West Loop developments have primarily consisted of rental apartments and office space, condominium growth has been limited to a handful of smaller boutique projects. The tower at 170 N. Peoria aims to meet a rising demand for larger, for-sale residences.

“People have fallen in love with the West Loop neighborhood and want to grow their families there, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities to buy a unit size that can support family living,” explained Ann Thompson of Related Midwest. “This site presented a chance to address a real need.”

“This is a trend that we’re seeing happening all over the country,” added Adjmi. “People are looking to settle into neighborhoods which may not have previously been thought of as family areas.”

The project, and its controversial 570-foot height, has received mixed reviews from residents already in the neighborhood. Facing a community where twelve-story proposals have been historically met with cries of “too tall,” the team behind 170 N. Peoria have stuck closely to West Loop Design Guidelines to alleviate concerns.

According to its developers, the project satisfies a number of suggestions from the document including a high-quality and site-specific design, concealed parking, active ground floor use, and a preserved streetwall. The choice for a taller, thinner building set back from the street is also consistent with the guidelines, allowing for wider view corridors, greater light, and air circulation at street level.

The charcoal colored metal and glass-skinned building reflects a warm glow in this dusk rendering.
Image courtesy of Related Midwest

“There are always going to be situations in cities where there are tall buildings next to shorter buildings,” noted Adjmi. “What’s important is to create a thoughtful interplay between the buildings and design a facade and streetwall that work well within the surroundings. At ground level you’re really focusing on your field of which goes up a handful of stories. So I think the height of the tower reads from the distance, but not in the immediate context.”

While 170 N. Peoria will require a zoning change, the requested bump in density (up to a DX-5 and Residential-Business Planned Development) is remarkably low. The tower would achieve its height thanks to its small floorplate and by consolidating density from its historic landmarked neighbors. If approved, the developer will contribute $4.9 million into Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus system.

This week, Related is also scheduled to unveil plans for an even taller, 58-story building at nearby 725 W. Randolph. The tower is expected to include an Equinox health club, an Equinox-branded hotel, and 370 residential units. A public presentation will take place 6:00 p.m. Wednesday at 1150 W. Adams Street.