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Architect Lucien Lagrange designs 500-foot-tall condo tower for Gold Coast

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The proposal calls for 90 luxury residences and parking for 160 cars

A rendering of a high-rise building on a city corner. It has a beige concrete exterior and balconies with metal railings.
The base of 40 W. Oak features a residential lobby entrance and a porte-cochere along Dearborn.
Courtesy Lucien Lagrange Studio

On Tuesday night, a team of developers and architect Lucien Lagrange presented their vision for a 34-story condominium tower slated for the northwest corner of Oak and Dearborn streets in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Known by its address of 40 W. Oak, the beige high-rise would replace a parking ramp attached to the Warren Barr rehabilitation center.

“It’s [a] very slender, modern interpretation of classic architecture—but without the mansard roof,” said Lagrange, referencing the questionable appeal of the hat-like structures atop previous projects such as the Waldorf Astoria and 2550 N. Lakeview.

The design is somewhat toned-down compared to earlier renderings that surfaced online last year, but still features many elements of the French-born architect’s signature style: stepped corners, ornamental balconies, vertical buttresses, and a sculpted crown.

A traditional-looking high-rise building next to two more modern towers.
Rising roughly 502 feet, the proposal for 40 W. Oak (center) is taller than the 293-foot building at 30 W. Oak (right) but shorter than the 553-foot Newberry Plaza (far right).
Lucien Lagrange Studio

The Gold Coast project is very much a family affair—developed by New York-based developer Nahla Capital in partnership with Lagrange Property Group, led by Lucien’s son Christophe Lagrange.

Featuring only 90 high-end condo units, the building would rise just over 500 feet. The plan also includes 160 parking spaces with 50 spots reserved for the neighboring Warren Barr facility. Residential loading would take place in a porte-cochere with an entrance on Dearborn and a right-only exit onto westbound Oak Street.

Although existing zoning allows for up to 160 residential units, the height of the proposed tower requires it to go through the city’s Planned Development process. To move forward, 40 W. Oak will need city approval and the thumbs-up from 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins.

The elected official has a mixed record when it comes to supporting high-rise projects in the area. Hopkins supported the 969-foot-tall One Chicago development as well as a slender 330-foot tower at 12 W. Maple Street, but recently rejected a 425-foot rental tower at 1130 N. State Street for “missing the mark.”

“Some projects get approved, some denied, but every one of them had at least one meeting like this,” said Hopkins at Tuesday’s community presentation. “This is part of that vetting process.” As proposed, 40 W. Oak would contribute $4.6 million into Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.

An aerial image of multiple tall buildings in an urban setting.
If approved, the 34-story condo tower (center) would rise one block north of the Newberry Library (bottom).
Lucien Lagrange Studio