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Developers reveal new 38-story tower plan for River North’s Clark and Barlow site

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The updated, 452-foot design comes from Chicago architect Brininstool & Lynch

Rendering courtesy of Onni Group

Three years after a previous, 32-story plan to redevelop the site of River North’s former Clark and Barlow hardware store failed to move forward, Vancouver-based Onni Group is back with a new design for the southwest corner of Grand Avenue and Orleans Street.

Unveiled Monday at a community meeting hosted by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly and the River North Residents Association, the revised proposal features a taller 38-story height and a change in architect from Pappageorge Haymes Partners to Brininstool & Lynch.

Rendering courtesy of Onni Group

Topping out at 452 feet, the project includes 354 residential units and 284 parking spaces reserved exclusively for tenant use. The ground floor would feature a 11,000 square feet of retail space as well as a new pocket park fronting Orleans at the site’s eastern edge.

The presentation highlighted a number of improvements that incorporate feedback received from the surrounding community. The tower is now more narrow and pushed to the west end of the parcel to provide more air and light to the Sexton Lofts to the immediate south.

The distance between the two buildings was also increased from 10 to 28 feet. All vehicle access, loading, a garbage service were shifted from the alleyway to within the building envelope, accessed from Grand Avenue.

The development at 353 W. Grand will have a facade of glass, metal panels, and cladding material known as Okoskin. The latter was used on previous Brininstool & Lynch projects such as 710 W. Grand and 1355 N. Sedgwick.

“The idea was to mimic the modular, loft style of the surrounding area,” explained architect David Brininstool. “But instead of red brick, we chose lighter materials that were more contemporary.”

The exterior calls for fritted glass—essentially panes with ceramic patterns baked into the back side—to screen its six levels of parking. The design will imitate drapery to give the garage the appearance of residential units.

A rendering showing the new pocket park on Orleans and the fritted glass designed to mimic drapes.
Rendering courtesy of Onni Group

The development will make a $5.7 million payment into the city’s floor area bonus system. Onni Group is weighing two options for affordable housing: building 35 new units within two miles of the site or provide nine onsite units and pledge $4.6 million to Chicago’s Affordable Housing Fund.

Although the developer is currently leaning more towards rental apartments, the project will feature “condo grade” finishes and ample parking should the market support a switch to for-sale residences.

If approved, 353 W. Grand could open in roughly two and a half to three years from now, said Onni’s Brian Brodeur. In the meantime, the firm continues its work on Old Town Park— the multi-tower redevelopment of the Near North Side’s old Atrium Village complex.