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In River North, developer envisions office tower at site of stalled condo project

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The proposal is one of three commercial buildings North Wells Capital wants to build in the immediate area

A street view of an urban parking lot full of cars surrounded by a fence and brick mid-rise buildings under a clear blue sky.
The parking lot at 320 W. Huron Street.
Google Street View

After picking up the site of a stalled condo development at the corner of Huron and Orleans streets in River North, developer North Wells Capital is teaming up with Chicago architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz to design a commercial office building for the vacant lot.

The new building will feature “large floor plates” and a full array of tenant amenities, according to North Wells. A representative of the company declined to comment further on specific details or provide a rendering of the proposal. However, the developer said it could build something “close to 24 stories,” according to Crain’s.

Currently a surface parking lot, the site was originally slated for 71-unit condo building from JFJ Development. Known by the address of 312 W. Huron, the HPA-designed project never got off the ground, partly due to Chicago’s still slow to recover condominium market following the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, North Wells Capital is seeking city approval for a 15-story office tower at nearby 301 W. Huron Street as well as a six-story addition to an existing commercial building at 308 W. Erie Street. Designed by NORR Architects, the two-building proposal is set to before the Chicago Plan Commission for a vote later this month.

A view from the elevated train tracks of an urban block with brick, warehouse style buildings. A taller dark office tower pokes up at the far end of the block.
A rendering of 308 W. Erie Street. The 15-story proposal at 301 W. Huron is visible in the background.

“This area around Huron and Franklin continues to see strong demand for office space, new upscale residences, retail stores, and restaurant options,” said North Wells CEO Jim Fox, in a statement. Fox hopes the project will keep growing companies in the neighborhood instead of moving to areas such as Fulton Market and the Loop. “These developments are intended to give tenants the River North options they’ve been looking for.”