500 North Milwaukee is a Go [u]

Drawing of the 500 North Milwaukee proposal, courtesy of Fifield Companies

Drawing of the 500 North Milwaukee proposal, courtesy of Fifield Companies

A rotten tooth in the Fulton River District is finally going to be extracted.

Yesterday, the Chicago Plan Commission approved the construction of 500 North Milwaukee, a two-building complex of residential and retail that will rise on the northwest corner of the intersection of Milwaukee, Grand, and Halsted.

Drawing of the 500 North Milwaukee proposal, courtesy of Fifield Companies

Drawing of the 500 North Milwaukee proposal, courtesy of Fifield Companies

Right now, it’s the location of a derelict restaurant supply store that burned years ago, and has never been brought back to life.  Since then, it’s been the home of graffiti, squatters, vagrants, and more rats than an FBI witness protection convention.

The developer, Urban Form Investments, has been given city approval to put a four-story building on the corner, and a 14-story building behind it, just across North Green Street.  The Pappageorge/Haymes-designed project includes 227 residences over 16,000 square feet of street-level retail.  There will also be a 113-space parking garage.

Increased setbacks mean it’s possible for there to be a change in the design of the busy corner, and opens the possibility that the CTA will have more space on the sidewalk for its Blue Line subway entrance, could have room to install an elevator,  and perhaps an enhanced bus stop for the busy intersection.

This article has been updated to add details, and remove a reference to Fifield Companies.  Fifield Companies has dropped out of the development of this project.
Editor

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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17 Comments

  1. Great news. Minor note: I’d call the location of this building River West. It seems both River West and Fulton River District claim this area, but I’ve always thought of Fulton River District as starting south of Grand, or even south of Kinzie, which is consistent with the boundary of the West Town community area. It would make more sense for River West (a neighborhood in West Town) to coincide with the boundary of the West Town community area rather than have Fulton River District straddle the West Town and Near West community areas.

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  2. Interesting, although I’d have to say the Chicago neighborhood map is just plain wrong on this one. According to the map, West Town goes as far south as Randolph (it appears to actually go all the way to Madison and Halsted, which makes even less sense). Absolutely no one would consider Publican, or the restaurants on the north side of Randolph (Au Cheval, Little Goat) to be in West Town. Everyone would call this Fulton Market or the West Loop (or at least the Near West Side, as the map doesn’t recognize Fulton Market or the West Loop). Here, I think it’s safe to say that everyone considers the Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted intersection to be in River West, and businesses in the area identify themselves as being in River West (e.g., River West Hand Car Wash). I understand arguing over neighborhood boundaries can be aggravating so you’d rather just go by a map, but I wouldn’t use this map where it’s obviously inconsistent with what the area is universally considered to be. I also see that other posts on this site have identified locations as being in the West Loop where, according to the neighborhood map, they are actually in West Town.

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    • Editor

      Thanks for your thoughts, Tim. Unfortunately, if we identified places by where people think they are versus where they are in reality, then we’d end up with maps that look more like aldermanic squiggle maps than anything logical. We do, quite literally, have to draw the line somewhere.

      Part of the confusion comes from the city having both a Neighborhood map and a Community Area map. A lot of people who have lived in Chicago all their lives use terms from both maps interchangeably, when they do not always refer to the same place.

      We have chosen to go with the Neighborhood map as the standard for this blog. There are occasions where there are deviations from that standard, mostly because the authors are given quite a lot of freedom in their writing. But I try to make changes to meet the Neighborhood map standard whenever possible.

      The situation is further confused because real estate agents and restaurant PR firms play fast and loose with the boundaries because it is in their clients’ financial interests. Then you end up with a restauranteur or a condo building promoting itself as being in a location that it is not, and people get used to thinking it is correct. (Trump Tower calling itself Gold Coast, for example.)

      Again, we have to draw the line somewhere, and for this blog it is the Neighborhood map. If you meet one of us in a bar, God knows what we might call a neighborhood. But we didn’t put the labels on the map, the city did.

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  3. Thanks for the response and I completely understand where you’re coming from and why you use the map. I still think it would be better to use the most accurate neighborhood designations where they are uncontroversial – such as the West Loop one I identified. Also neighborhood boundaries undeniably change as the neighborhoods change. I’m not sure when the neighborhood map is from but it was obviously when Daley was mayor so at least a little while ago. Maybe Halsted and Madison was considered the southern boundary of West Town at some point in the past but it certainly is not now, and if you referred to that intersection as being in West Town you’d just have some confused readers. Anyways, I felt it necessary to comment here because River West is already kind of an unknown so I didn’t want it to be made smaller than it already is. Identifying this building as being in River West helps build an identity for River West, so it is somewhat important. Mainly I want people to know where I’m talking about when I say I live in River West! Thanks again for the response and I enjoy reading the blog!

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    • Editor

      You’re right, that neighborhoods grow and change and evolve over time, and often their borders do the same. I’m not sure how often the city updates these official boundaries, but it might make for a good article. I’ll see if I can find out when the last update was and when the next update might come.

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      • Do you know when the demolition/construction is set to start?

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        • Editor

          It only got approved yesterday, so there’s still lots of paperwork to be done before demolition. My guess is early summer. But that’s just a guess.

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          • Does that mean financing is lined up?

  4. Without a doubt, this is the Fulton River District neighborhood.
    River West starts north of the Ohio feeder ramps.

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      • Editor

        Wikipedia isn’t exactly a reliable source. Anyone can post anything there. Between a web page that can be edited by anyone and a map put out by the city government, I’ll go with the official city government map.

        Going to Wikipedia for answers is often no different than asking a bunch of people at a bus stop a question. You get a bunch of vague groupthink, and the people who are actually experts in the field are drowned out by the rabble.

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  5. Does Urban Form have all its investors/financing in order to get this going soon? Do we know when estimated construction start date might be?

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    • Editor

      Dunno about financing. My guess is that work will start soon, or they wouldn’t have bothered to get this far in the process already.

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    • Sale is scheduled for May and construction scheduled for June last I heard.

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  6. Is there any news on this?

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    • Editor

      Not a peep. But it’s funny that you should ask because someone e-mailed last week asking the same thing, so I checked all the usual sources and found nothing’s happening yet.

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