We introduced our very first Rental Heatmap in early summer, well in advance of the autumn high season. It's task? Highlighting desirable and trendy rental buildings around town. And now that we're on the other side of the moving season, has anything changed in the world of hot rentals? The answer is yes, and our modest changes reflect that. The 18 selections were culled from Yelp reviews, tipsters, and a moderate amount of sleuthing, with the aid of YoChicago's At-a-glance apartment lists. We've tried hard to abstain from prejudices, but there's obviously plenty of that in Yelp reviews, so don't take our list as absolute. Every building below had a cumulative four-star-or-better Yelp rating, and many have unique attributes that put them on top. The list remains North Side-centric, but The Loop gets more involved this time around. And why not? That's where a lot of new apartment development is taking place. We should also note, we made a decision to avoid condo buildings with a culture of renting. That just blows up the field far too much. Got more for us to add, we're happy to abide. Keep the tips coming!Read More
Expanded: The Curbed Chicago Rental Heatmap
An upscale vintage lakefront building, the Belden Stratford doesn't have the amenity load of many newer buildings, but still lays claim to a fitness center, sun deck, and on-site restaurants. Units are on the smaller side, ranging from a 288 sf studio to 1,700 sf 2-beds.
10 W Elm Street Apartments
Well-maintained 1920s Gold Coast mid-rise. Pros: Highly regarded management company and great roof deck. Con: downstairs bars bring a lot of noise to the party.
This is the bee's knees as amenities go. There's a fitness center, media room, cafe, wine room, outdoor terrace w/ fireplace, and an "aqua center". Bonus: The Parc Huron is smoke-free and has an above-average amount of built-in "green" features.
A very large high-end tower perched on the river, Kingsbury Plaza has studios to 2-beds priced from $1,800 to $4,000. Amenties include a sun deck, garden, river walk, rooftop terrace, outdoor pool, WI-FI, and a fitness center. But, undoubtedly, people flock here for the "dramatic" 8'4" living room ceilings. Yeah, right.
Flair Tower fancies itself a boutiquey place, with an art-filled, colorful lobby and a clubby atmosphere. Let's see, there's a billiard room, lounge w/ fireplace and bar, pool, spa, terrace, fitness center w/ "technogym", and, best of all, complimentary coffee whenever you damn well please!
Left Bank at K Station gets points for a broad range of unit sizes (studio to 3-bed), proximity to The Jewel, and for a thorough amenity package. Also, staff get high marks in resident reviews. Ditto the Fulton River District.
180 N Jefferson Apartments
There's very little range in unit size at 180 N Jefferson. But that, plus the fact of its West Loop location, makes it a great single's haunt. The amenity package is plentiful with a pool, fitness center, club and theater rooms, library, and sun deck. It's also a pet-friendly building.
The Tides at Lakeshore East
The Tides belong to Magellan's ever-growing Lakeshore East mega development. Rents range roughly from $1,400 to $3,600 for studios to 2-beds. It's another amenity-intensive building with pool, sauna, and game room. Along with Aqua, Tides rates highest among the LSE rental buildings.
North Harbor Tower
North Harbor Tower offers "more apartment square footage than any building in Chicago". It's also got great lake views, a fitness center, one of the better indoor pools we've seen, a sun deck, and 24-hour door person. Units range from studios to 3-beds at prices of $1,300 to $3,500.
Next door to Aqua is the elder of the block-- Columbus Plaza. Rents run from $1,700 to $3,100 for studios to 2-beds. Amenity highlights include a year-round sun room w/ retractable skylight, a high-floor fitness center, private garden, and a Wi-Fi lounge.
Here's the big 'statement' building. Recognized as the best new skyscraper worldwide when it finished a couple years ago, Aqua is the brainchild of celebrated local architect Jeanne Gang. It has the city's largest rec deck, three pools, a running track, spa, and numerous lounges and game rooms. Oh, and it's 86 stories tall. Aqua offers studios to 2-beds for $1,700 to $3,500. LSE has been slow to fill in with commerce and services, but the situation is improving.
The Regal Apartments
The Regal is an imposing 8-story brick warehouse conversion in Printer's Row with National Historic status. The loft apartments have exposed brick and heavy timber ceilings. And the best news is you can rent a one-bed for as little as $1,330.
On the edge of Belmont Harbor, the Hawthorne House has 40 floors and ample amenities, from the rooftop pool to guest suites and round-the-clock door staff. Studios rent for as little as $1,190 and two-beds go up to $2,790. A little more value than downtown, and just as desirable.
Del Prado Apartments
Antheus Capital recently overhauled this historic Hyde Park hotel-turned-apartment building, and now its 194-unit buffet is open to anyone with an appetite for beaux-arts/art deco with a dash of Native American iconography (it's like the Powhatan, for renters). The price is right: studios for $975 and the nicest 2-beds for $1,675. There's some suggestion of lousy management, but the experiences are by no means universal.
Roosevelt Collection Apartments
Roosevelt Collection has made news for its retail woes, but the residential aspect has gone far more swimmingly (unless, of course, you're bothered by the relative desolation of the area). The units are loft-style and the complex includes roof decks, a fitness center, and a multiplex theater (but unfortunately no pool). Stay tuned for a big retail announcement later in November. It's been assured, anyway.
215 West Apartments
Some people still seem to thing residing in The Loop means poor access to groceries and neighborhood services. That's really not the case any longer with major commercial concentrations along Roosevelt and Halsted. 215 West Washington is especially close to the French Market, Mariano's, and Dominck's. Units run from studios to 3-bed penthouses, at $1,647 to $5,221.
The Morgan at Loyola Station
This new Loyola-adjacent mid-rise scored a hefty helping of Yelp boosterism. Otherwise, it wouldn't have showed up on our radar. Residents seem to love the movie nights and wine tastings-- wait, isn't that what wine shops and TVs are for? The building's quality construction and amenities also won high marks. Availability runs from $1,300 studios to $2,375 two-beds.
Randolph Tower City Apartments
Village Green's latest installment, the Randolph Tower City Apartments, is the redevelopment of an storied Loop office building. The finishes are impressive, particularly in the common areas. There's also a high-floor pool, sun deck, game room, and lounge. User reviews stick it to the management a little bit, which has been the case with Village Green's other properties. Rents range broadly from a $1,450 studio to a $6,780 penthouse. There's far less variation in square footage.
1225 Old Town Apartments
A newcomer to the luxe rental scene, an alert reader reminded us to plot its coordinates stat! There's not much in the way of user reviews, except one from a disgruntled Pit Bull owner. Available studios begin at $1,655 and 3-beds top out at $7,843! And they're really quite small. Along with the Old Town address, you're paying for a rooftop pool and patio, movie theater, fitness center, private dog run, and 24-hour door staff. Pretty solid lineup.