The Beans About the Gold Coast’s New Residential Tower and School Building

1 East Chestnut and 2 East Pearson

Loyola University is talking more about its plans for the corner of State and Chestnut in the Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.

We first told you about the proposal in December of 2012. Back then, it was little more than a location and half a rendering. Now we have the full details and it looks pretty good.

While the property is owned by Loyola, and a single architecture firm, SCB, will design the project, the result will be two independent buildings by two different developers.

The building on the northeast corner of North State Street and East Pearson Street (let’s call it 837 North State for now) will be the new Loyola University Quinlan School of Business. A 10-story classroom and office building made possible by a $40 million gift from McDonald’s C.E.O. Michael Quinlan.

The proposed location of Loyola University's new residential tower

The proposed location of Loyola University’s new residential tower

The building on the southeast corner of North State Street and East Chestnut Street (officially 1 East Chestnut Street) will be a 36-story apartment tower.

At a meeting to formally introduce the project to the neighbors, the usual group of angry geriatrics was in attendance. Unfortunately, the university was unprepared for their antics. The Loyola staffer who was trying to run the meeting attempted to conduct an orderly, civil exchange of information; fitting for the meeting’s location in the basement of a law school. But she was no match for the experienced NIMBYs, and within 30 seconds of the meeting start, before Loyola could even introduce all of the speakers by name, people were shrieking their imagined grievances from the audience.

An orderly meeting was simply not in the cards that night.

Part of the NIMBY group’s worries is that a building built for a university on university land might actually have university students for residents. The senior citizens in attendance demanded to know what kind of people were going to live in the as-yet-unbuilt-and-therefore-unleased tower.

Loyola University’s Vice President for Capital Planning, Wayne Magdziarz, assured the Geritol set that Loyola isn’t planning to fill the tower with students. In fact, Loyola doesn’t want any more dormitories in its downtown campus. It likes the system of keeping students on the Lakeshore campus, and bussing them downtown as needed.

Loyola does have a downtown dorm, Baumhart Hall, at 26 East Chestnut Street. It is running below capacity, and the extra space is being converted for other uses.

But that wasn’t enough for the hostile crowd. Some demanded to know who the “target demographic” is for the apartment building. Magdziarz was diplomatic about it, but I don’t have to be. The answer is: “None.”

Not very long ago, a very large national REIT with apartment towers from coast to coast spent the money to put me through training on federal fair housing laws. So here’s a message for the angry elderly in the Gold Coast: It is illegal for an apartment building to target a specific demographic, with the exception of the elderly.

Some guy shows up in a wheelchair looking for an apartment? It is illegal for the leasing agent to suggest a place on the first floor because it would be easier for him to get to than the second floor with no elevator access.

A mom shows up with a kid looking for a new home? It is illegal to suggest she take a unit at the end of the building near the school.

Proposed location for Loyola University's new residential tower and Quinlan School of Business

Proposed location for Loyola University’s new residential tower and Quinlan School of Business

A stinky vagrant wants to see the five-bedroom penthouse rental? Yeah, you gotta show it to him. And you can’t ask about his money situation until you run the application and his credit check comes back bad.

The bottom line is that leasing agents have to treat EVERY person exactly the same, or they are very likely to be in violation of the law (there is an exception for senior citizens, of course). This is why neither Loyola nor Newcastle, the company it’s hired to develop the residential tower, could satisfy the angry audience with a quick “White females 17-35” answer. Because there is no answer.

I am not a lawyer, so I may not understand the nuances of all of this, but I know there are several real estate lawyers who do read this blog, and I encourage them to correct me in the space below.

Now that we’re past that, let’s get on with the fact sheets:

The Quinlan School of Business

  • Legal address: 2 East Pearson Street
  • Developer: Loyola University
  • Architecture firm: SCB
  • Architect: Devon Patterson
  • Floor 1: Retail, educational
  • Floors 2-8: educational
  • Floors 9-10: educational, mechanical
  • Planned opening: August, 2015
  • Classrooms and faculty offices clustered around a central atrium in what are being called “vertical neighborhoods.”
  • An extra-wide staircase called the Social Stair for people to hang out on, share ideas, and even listen to speakers and hold special events.

The State & Chestnut Residential Project

  • Legal address: 1 East Chestnut Street
  • Developer: Newcastle
  • Architecture firm: SCB
  • Architect: Gary Klompmaker
  • Height: 410 feet
  • Parking: 165 spaces
  • Bicycle parking: 240 spaces
  • Roof deck: 55 feet wide between residential tower and business school
  • Floor 1: Retail, Lobby
  • Floors 2-6: Parking
  • Floor 7: Amenities
  • Floors 8-34: Residential
  • Floor 35: Mechanical, Amenities with splash pool
  • Floor 36: Mechanical
  • Studios: 16%
  • Convertibles: 20%
  • One bedroom apartments: 46%
  • Two bedroom apartments: 18%
  • Rents starting at $1,500/month for a studio.
  • Planned demolition of existing buildings: Spring, 2013
  • Planned construction start: Late summer, 2013
  • Planned completion: April, 2015
  • Lower portion of the tower is narrower than the upper portion. Once it clears the school, the tower gets five feet wider.
  • Living rooms have wider windows, bathrooms smaller windows.
  • The residential tower is what makes the school building financially possible.
  • There will be a single off-street loading dock to serve both buildings and the existing Loyola building at 26 East Pearson.
  • There will be an eight-foot-wide arcade running the length of the State Street side to give pedestrians more room on what is now a very narrow sidewalk.
  • Employees who currently park in the 30-space surface parking lot will be required to use another lot on Chicago Avenue.
  • Green roofs on both buildings.
  • Going for LEED Gold on both buildings.
  • Landmarks commission is not raising a fuss about the demolition of 1416 East Pearson, even though it is listed as code orange by the city because there are at least four other Huber-designed buildings in historic districts in other parts of the city, and this one has been altered so much over the years that it doesn’t have much of his distinctiveness still in tact.

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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