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Two State Street apartment projects presented at lively Gold Coast meeting

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The developments would offer a combined 470 new apartment units

1200 N. State Street
CallisonRTKL/Newcastle Ltd.

On Wednesday, Chicago-based developer Newcastle Limited presented its plans for a pair of mixed-use Gold Cost developments to unruly standing-room-only crowd at meeting hosted by 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins in the Sofitel grand ballroom.

The two State Street projects would replace a cluster of vacant commercial buildings and one of Chicago’s last remaining Barnes & Noble bookstores with a combined 470 rental units, 193 parking spots, and more than 30,000 square feet of retail space.

1200 N. State Street

First up was the Newcastle’s plan for the northwest corner of State and Division. Here, an 11-story building with 102 rental units would eliminate a handful of low-rise structures including the former homes of the Tip Top Inn, Hash House a Go Go, and McFadden’s.

The 121-foot-tall proposal will offer about 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space topped by a reasonably well-concealed 32-car garage as well as resident amenity spaces on the third floor and roof.

The materials will be a mix of glass, brick, metal, and panels similar to porcelain tile that will represent but not imitate the eclectic architecture of the neighbor, according to designer Keith Campbell of CallisonRTKL.

A rendering of 1130 N. Street Street from the northeast.
Solomon Cordwell Buenz/Newcastle Ltd.

1130 N. State Street

With the smaller development out of the way, the presentation shifted to the meeting’s main attraction: a 39-story tower slated to replace the Barnes & Noble bookstore at 1130 N. State Street—which was put up for sale in September, reported the Chicago Tribune at the time.

Designed by architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), the high-rise calls for 368 rental apartments offered in studio, one- and two-bedroom layouts, 19,000 square feet of commercial space, and 161 parking spaces. The design features a more traditional base clad in concrete, stucco, and brick topped by a contemporary glass and metal tower with curved corners.

“We set the building back and then divided the tower into two interlocking volumes at different heights to increase the slenderness,” explained SCB architect John Lahey. “Then we curved the surfaces. There are a lot of rigid buildings in the area, and we thought softening the design this way would give it its own, more elegant, identity.”

A diagram showing how the architects ditched the traditional box shape arrived at the more curvaceous final design.
Jay Koziarz

The proposed 425-foot-tall development would incorporate unused density from the neighboring Lou Malnati’s pizzeria property (which will remain at 1120 N. State) as well as Newcastle’s upcoming three-story building across the street at 1139 N. State.

Although the high-rise conforms with the site’s existing downtown district zoning, the height and unit count triggers the Planned Development (PD) process which will require Plan Commission, Zoning Committee, and City Council approval. Provided all goes as planned, the development team hopes break ground on both 1200 and 1130 N. State Street projects in early 2020.

Wednesday’s audience of Gold Coast neighbors, who were prone to repeated interruptions and outbursts ahead of the designated question and answer time, voiced concerns about the usual issues: traffic, blocked views, too little parking, and shadows.