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Pop-up shipping container market comes to West Loop

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The space will have an Equinox athletic court and a Haymarket beer garden

Image courtesy of Related Midwest

Before Chicago’s Equinox Hotel breaks ground in the Fulton Market District, the vacant site of the proposed 680-foot tower will host a temporary retail market housed in repurposed shipping containers.

Starting on Friday, June 15, the lot at 725 W. Randolph Street will provide a rotating roster of local entrepreneurs and businesses with a chance to sell and test-out products. The complex will also include an Equinox-branded sports court and an outdoor beer garden for the neighboring Haymarket Pub.

The project comes from developer Related Midwest and Chicago-based architecture firm Latent Design, whose Boombox concept has brought container-based retail to the Wicker Park, Austin, Chatham, and Englewood neighborhoods.

With monthly vendor leases starting at just $1,000, the pop-up market isn’t necessarily the most lucrative use of the vacant parcel (located in an area where parking commands a premium) but that’s not the point, explained the developer.

“Our focus was to engage the surrounding community instead of fencing in the site,” Related Midwest’s Michael Ellch told Curbed Chicago. “We’re hoping it’s received well and is something we can replicate at other projects like The 78.”

The Box Shops By Related are expected to remain in place at the eastern gateway of Chicago’s Restaurant Row through the end of the year. As for its 58-story skyscraper replacement, Ellch expects work on the midwest’s first Equinox Hotel to begin in early 2019. The project will, however, need city approval prior to breaking ground.

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The temporary sports court is located just south of market.
Jay Koziarz