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Clark and Barlow hardware store ready to bite the dust for 41-story tower

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The low-rise commercial building at Grand and Orleans won’t be around for much longer

Jay Koziarz

Construction on a new high-rise apartment tower is inching forward at the southwest corner of Grand Avenue and Orleans Street in River North. Before work can begin, however, the site’s old Clark and Barlow building needs to come down. With construction fencing installed and a demolition permit on file, work to dismantle the former hardware store appears imminent.

Brininstool + Lynch

Developed by Vancouver-based Onni Group and designed by Chicago architecture firm Brininstool + Lynch, Clark and Barlow’s replacement will rise 452 feet high. It calls for up to 356 rental units as well as 261 parking spaces, ground-floor retail, and a small pocket park along Orleans.

As approved by city officials last fall, the $90 million project will contribute $5.8 million into the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and will include 36 affordable housing units on site, according to the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.

The upcoming tower will be Onni’s fourth new Chicago apartment high-rise to break ground in recent years—joining The Hudson and Old Town Park phase one and phase two. The developer also has plans to build a third tower at the former Atrium Village site and redevelop Goose Island’s Greyhound bus facility.

Clark and Barlow’s former building at 353 W. Grand Avenue has sat vacant since the hardware company closed in 2016. Though the business represented somewhat of a throwback to River North’s more blue-collar past as explored in this essay in Belt Magazine, the company continues to have a presence at its nearby Hubbard Street location.