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Developers want to build 401 apartments in two new West Loop towers

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Neighbors worry about more Ubers and Amazon deliveries jamming up traffic on the increasingly dense block

Courtesy of Antunovich Associates

Back in January, two towers, expected to deliver hundreds of apartments to the West Loop, were proposed for 1050 and 1125 W. Van Buren Street. The project would bring more apartments within one block of the completed Landmark West Loop and a proposed 32-story residential building from the Pizzuti Companies.

Chicago-based developer and builder Tandem Partners and architecture firm Antunovich Associates presented the revised design and some details on construction logistics during a community meeting Thursday evening.

1050 W. Van Buren replaces the Guy & Sons Auto Rebuilders while 1125 W. Van Buren would demolish the Chicago Auto Center building.
Antunovich Associates

The development team came back to the community with updated designs that give each tower a separate identity. The most notable changes are to the exterior materials and components that break up the building laterally. Both building will be clad in metal paneling—1050 will take on a Cor-Ten rust color while 1125 has a darker grey exterior.

“I think we’ve designed a building here that’s articulated. It has definition and celebrates the journey up the building with different elements at the crown, midpoint, and a base that’s engaging to retailers and pedestrians,” said architect Joe Antunovich at the meeting.

The shorter 21-story tower, 1050 W. Van Buren Street, will be about 231 feet tall and have 73 parking spaces. Its 201 units will be split mostly into studios and one-bedrooms, leaving just 10 percent of units as two-bedrooms.

Its neighbor 1125 W. Van Buren is on a much narrower lot but will stand taller at 24 floors and about 258 feet. It comes with just seven car parking spaces. More than half of the 200 units will be studios, with one-bedrooms making up about 30 percent of the building and two-bedrooms accounting for 10 percent.

Both buildings will have bicycle storage that can hold up to 100 bikes and amenities including rooftop pools, community lounges, and gyms.

1050 W. Van Buren Street.
Antunovich Associates

A total of 60 affordable units will be made available, although it’s still being discussed whether those units will be on the property or off-site. Katriina McGuire, the zoning attorney for the project, said that taking the affordable requirements off-site is not actually a better deal for developers, and that one benefit for tenants is that it could allow for larger affordable units.

A total of $2,533,339 will be dropped into the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund with $255,000 of that designated for use within a mile of the property. This money can be used to improve infrastructure, landscaping, or parks.

Out of the handful of residents and business owners who attended the meeting, most were pleased with the design changes. However, the strongest concerns were about how the development would anticipate more ride-hailing services and Amazon deliveries from the younger tenants they plan to target.

The plan includes an area where at least two cars could pull out of traffic on Van Buren Street to alleviate double parking. But a few residents were skeptical that it would help or that drivers would actually use it.

1125 W. Van Buren (right), Landmark West Loop (left), and the outline of the planned Pizzuti development (center).
Antunovich Associates

Both buildings are near public transportation, so they qualify as TOD. That’s why the two towers and their combined 401 units have just 80 parking spaces. McGuire said that seeming low figure might actually be high, based on future estimates. But if there is a sudden demand for tenant parking, Related Realty can lease out at least 200 of its unused parking spaces inside Landmark West Loop’s 320-car garage.

To avoid taking on too much at once, Tandem will stagger the construction of the two towers. Right now, the plan is to begin with 1125 W. Van Buren Street, but that isn’t set in stone and both parcels will require city approval. Three months before construction starts, which could be at the end of 2019, the developer will host a preconstruction meeting to go over timelines, safety, and more.

Tandem recently broke ground on a 23-story apartment tower along Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago’s River West neighborhood. Also designed by Antunovich, the transit-oriented project calls for 226 rental units with 97 parking spaces.