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West Loop’s Equinox Hotel passes Chicago Plan Commission with tweaks

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The revised design cuts six floors and 65 feet off the top

At its new height, the tower will still be Chicago’s tallest building west of the Kennedy Expressway.
Chicago Department of Planning and Development

A plan to build an Equinox-branded hotel, health club, and apartment tower at the corner of Fulton Market’s Restaurant Row and the Kennedy Expressway cleared an early, but key, city hurdle at this month’s meeting of the Chicago Plan Commission.

Originally presented to rise 58 stories and 680 feet, the proposal at 725 W. Randolph Street was approved at 52 stories and 615 feet. Even at its shorter height, the project would still eclipse the newly topped-off 495-foot tower at 727 W. Madison Street and take the title of Chicago’s tallest building west of the Kennedy.

The skyline-changing high-rise comes from developer Related Midwest—whose parent company owns Equinox fitness—as well as Connecticut-based design firm Roger Ferris + Partners and Chicago-based architect of record Perkins Eastman. The plan includes 165 hotel rooms, 370 luxury rental units, a 30,000-square-foot health club, 5,000 square feet of restaurant space, and 138 on-site parking spaces.

The height reduction from 58 to 52 floors isn’t the only apparent change to come out of this month’s Plan Commission meeting. A new street-level rendering highlights revisions to the facade, most notably the removal of the “inverted” three-part bay windows from the tower’s base. Floor heights and the glass windscreen shielding the amenity deck also appear to have been tweaked since February’s community presentation.

A rendering from Februrary (left) versus an exhibit presented at the July Plan Commission Meeting (right).
Roger Ferris + Partners

Next, the project will head to the Zoning Committee and the full Chicago City Council for its final okay. Related Midwest hopes to break ground on the Randolph Street project in early 2019 and is hosting a temporary “box shop” shipping container market in the meantime.

The busy developer is working to secure approval for a second residential tower at nearby 170 N. Peoria Street as well as exploring new Randolph streetscape improvements, including one option that could replace the roadway’s adjacent service drives with dedicated pedestrian spaces.

In addition to the Equinox project, July’s Plan Commission meeting resulted in city officials approving a Fulton Market office proposal for 310 N. Sangamon Street, a senior housing project at 4801 S. Cicero Avenue, and a plan to turn the Chicago Housing Authority’s former Ickes Homes, at 2200 S. State Street, into a sprawling mixed-use complex known as “Southbridge.”