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Drawing of Optima Center Chicago

Drawing of Optima Center Chicago

(Updated: November 21, 2011 @ 9:41am to include drawing of the building)

We mentioned briefly last week that Crain’s Chicago Business reported that the stalled apartment building development at 200 East Illinois Street finally has the financial green light.  The 42-story tower will be sandwiched between Avenue East (160 East Illinois Street), the new Ronald McDonald House,  and The Fairbanks (280 East Illinois Street).

Hours later we received an e-mail from our Streeterville Spy with a letter that local NIMBY group SOAR (Seniors Opposed to Anything, Really) sent to the developer, Optima, earlier in the month.

The letter contains a list of SOAR’s demands for the new building, the design of which SOAR admits it hadn’t even seen at the time the letter was written. (But we have — see the image at the top of the article.)

Here’s what SOAR wants:

  • The Illinois Street-facing side should be bright, with artwork and light and stuff.
  • The stairs from Lower North Saint Clair Street to Upper East Illinois Street should be replaced.
  • Care should be taken to make sure that cabs don’t clog the roundabout at the intersection of Upper East Illinois Street and Upper North Cityfront Plaza Drive.
  • The loading dock “must be aesthetically pleasing.”
  • Headlights from the parking levels should not bother the patients in the neighboring Ronald McDonald House.
You can read the full SOAR letter for yourself by clicking on the thumbnails below.

Here’s what we know about the building:

  • Name: Optima Center Chicago
  • Address: 200 East Illinois Street
  • Architect: David Hovey
  • Developers: Optima (Glenview), DeBartolo Development (Tampa)
  • Will pursue LEED certification
  • Height: 42 stories
  • 325 apartments
  • 235 parking spaces
  • 22,000 square feet retail and office space
Here’s the press release that DeBartolo put out last week:



Forty-two story, 325-unit LEED certified tower in prestigious Streeterville neighborhood designed by Optima’s David Hovey will be Chicago’s premier multifamily community

TAMPA, FL (November 17, 2011) – DeBartolo Development, LLC, in partnership with Optima, Inc., announced today they will begin construction immediately on Optima Center Chicago, a $114 million, 42-story Class A mixed-use multifamily community in downtown Chicago. The state-of-art LEED certified tower, designed by nationally renowned architect David Hovey of Optima, will include 325 luxury apartments, a 235 car parking garage and over 22,000 square feet of commercial retail and office space.

Located at the northeast corner of Illinois and St. Clair Streets on 200 E. Illinois St. in the prestigious Streeterville neighborhood, the development is just one block east of Michigan Avenue and Chicago’s premier shopping corridor, the Magnificent Mile.

“We’re very excited about Optima Center Chicago – from the project’s amazing location in the Streeterville neighborhood of downtown Chicago to our joint venture with Optima and acclaimed architect David Hovey,” said Edward Kobel, President and Chief Operating Officer of DeBartolo Development. “We’re big fans of Chicago, one of the great 24-hour cities in the United States, and believe it’s arguably one of the strongest multifamily rental markets in the country. Strategically, the city has great stability, great demography and a robust economy making it a solid investment market for domestic and international investors. Our partnership with David and his special architectural talents will be a great combination of two prominent companies coming together to deliver the premier community in downtown Chicago.”

“We are enthused about our joint ventures with DeBartolo Development for both Optima Center Chicago and Optima Sonoran Village in Scottsdale, Arizona,” said David Hovey, President of Optima, Inc.

Upon completion, Optima Center Chicago will feature larger-than-average one-, two- and three- bedroom residences with floor-to-ceiling glass to frame panoramic views of the city and Lake Michigan. Luxuriously appointed contemporary interiors include hardwood floors, premium wood cabinets, high-end stainless steel appliances, and granite/cultured marble counters.

Optima Center Chicago will offer its residents a world class amenities package spanning two floors totaling 11,600 square feet of space. Recreational facilities will include a glass-enclosed fitness center overlooking downtown with weight facility, basketball court, cardio areas, and flex studio; an indoor lap pool with sliding retractable glass walls offering indoor/outdoor use and a hot tub; and men’s and women’s locker rooms with sauna and private massage treatment rooms. A Resident’s Club, Business Center, multipurpose room, and conference room feature a game room, lounge, flat screen television, two catering kitchens, private offices with workstations/hi-speed Internet, and a full service on-site concierge service.


A unique attraction will be the landscaped green rooftop sky deck equipped with two kiva fireplaces circled by seating areas, two large hot tubs, and two outdoor kitchens. Building security will be first class with 24/7 monitored access, intercom, video surveillance, 24-hour doorman and a 235 car indoor parking garage complete the amenities.

Debt financing for Optima Chicago Center is being provided through a PNC/HSBC Bank syndicated construction loan facility with preferred equity provided by LaSalle Investment Management, collectively arranged through the efforts of Bill Barry, SVP of Draper & Kramer in Chicago. The first Optima Center residences are expected to be delivered in 15 months.

DeBartolo Development’s bicoastal multifamily portfolio consists of more than 4,000 units, including the recently completed first phase of Andros Isles Apartments, a 360-unit luxury apartment community in Daytona, Fla. In addition to Optima City Center, DeBartolo has acquired three development projects in the Chicago area over the past year – 3.5 acres of vacant land entitled for retail in Tinley Park; Prairie Stone Crossing, a 61,000 square foot mixed-use community retail center in Hoffman Estates; and six vacant out-lots and approximately 98 acres of commercially and residentially zoned land adjacent to and behind Bradley Commons in the southwest suburb of Bradley, IL.

Author: Editor

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

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