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Carson’s Ribs move from River North to clear path for condo redevelopment

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The restaurant’s 12-story replacement has been on the boards of a Milwaukee-based developer for a number of years

A rendering of The Blanc condo proposal.
Rinka Chung Architecture

A proposed condo development slated for the southwest corner of Wells and Ontario streets took a step closer to becoming a reality this week as it was confirmed Wednesday that Carson’s Ribs would vacate their River North location after 41 years.

The move clears a path for the single-story restaurant’s replacement—a modern condo development known as The Blanc. Expected to feature 40 condo units, ground floor commercial space, and parking for both residents and retail customers, the proposal comes from Milwaukee-based Barrett Lo Visionary Development and Rinka Chung Architecture.

Carson’s River North location at 612 N. Wells.

Though renderings of The Blanc have been on the websites of both firms since 2014, the developer isn’t quite ready to commit to its final plans for the parcel at 612 N. Wells.

“We’re still exploring our options for the site,” said Joel Aizen, chief financial officer at Barret Lo. While Aizen offered no timetable with regards to construction, he did confirm that his company took control of the site several months ago.

The Wells and Ontario intersection has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years with the former Gino’s East building giving way to 442-unit Gallery on Wells apartment tower and 640 N. Wells replacing Ed Debevic’s restaurant with 250 rental units.

Chicagoans hoping to get one last ribs fix at the old Carson’s spot have until Monday, February 19 to do so. The restaurant will open a new Chicago location in March in the former Quay space at 465 E. Illinois Street in nearby Streeterville.