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Fulton Market development boom moves north with high-rise office

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West Town neighbors take issue with a 16-story office project at 400 N. Aberdeen Street

Courtesy ESG Architects

In addition to pressing further west, Fulton Market’s unprecedented construction boom may soon move north—crossing the Metra tracks running between Kinzie and Hubbard streets. Here, developers are pitching a 16-story commercial building slated for a former industrial site at 400 N. Aberdeen Street.

The project, which comes from Dallas-based developer Trammell Crow, debuted in a recent public presentation hosted by the West Loop Community Organization and Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. (27th). Pending a zoning change, it would bring roughly 400,000 square feet of office space, 165 parking spots, and streetscape improvements to the area.

Though similar-sized (and larger) proposals have become nothing short of routine one or two blocks south, this project managed to strike a nerve with some residents of nearby West Town, which has experienced comparatively little construction north of Kinzie.

Because of its proposed location, the development faces a different group of neighbors such as the Friends of River West. Their objections, however, are all too familiar: the project is too tall, too dense, and residents are concerned about the project causing traffic congestion and changing the character of the neighborhood.

“There’s going to be a lot more density in this community,” explained Alderman Burnett after the developers made their pitch. “As a matter of fact, just so you all know, this area is the breadwinner for the city of Chicago right now. Probably a third of the new economic development coming to the city is coming from this community.”

The inevitability of Fulton’s boom spreading to surrounding areas comes at a time when tech firms like Google are doubling-down on the near-downtown district. Even traditional office tenants from Chicago’s central business district are eyeing moves to the trendy neighborhood.

And, with the potential for a dedicated Fulton Market Metra stop under discussion and the city considering a second extension of the downtown zoning district—this time as far west as Ashland Avenue—the trend shows no signs of letting up.

A view of 400 N. Aberdeen looking northwest.

North-of-the-tracks location aside, the 400 N. Aberdeen project is also notable for its novel design. Drafted by ESG Architects, it features a glass and metal facade with curved corner balconies offset within alternating two-story brackets.

In exchange for a zoning change from the city, the developers would pay $4 million into Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund as well as contribute money to improve nearby train crossings. If approved, construction is expected to take roughly 21 months, according to representatives from Trammell Crow.