Smaller Greektown Tower Still Unpopular, Gateway II Faces a Murky Future

Gateway Phase II original hotel tower rendering and current residential tower proposal

Gateway Phase II original hotel tower rendering and current residential tower proposal

An overflow crowd of more than one hundred people, most of them West Loop residents, met last night (February 26th) to learn about the latest plans for Phase II of The Gateway — the mixed-use retail and residential tower that remains half-built in the northern end of Greektown.

The first part of The Gateway, a retail building anchored by a Mariano’s Fresh supermarket, was completed last year at 40 South Halsted Street. The tower portion of the project has been on hold, but is now apparently moving forward.

Gateway Phase II residential tower proposalArchitect Joe Antunovich, of Chicago architecture firm Antunovich Associates, laid out the changes in the latest revision:

  • The tower has changed from a hotel to a residential property.
  • Instead of 224 hotel rooms, the building is now planned to have 200 apartments.
  • The height has been reduced to 20 stories and 200 feet tall.

Of those people who chose to speak at the event, all were against the project. They complained primarily about the height of the tower. Even at its newly reduced stature, they believe it is out of character with the neighborhood, some claiming the proposed building is twice as tall as its neighbors.

The blocks immediately surrounding Gateway Phase II contain:

  • Multiple surface parking lots
  • Several two- and three-story factories and retail buildings
  • A four-story residential building
  • A four-story office building
  • An abandoned six-story office building
  • A pair of 12-story residential towers
  • A 17-story hotel
  • A 37-story residential tower
  • A space already approved for a 46-story residential tower

There is fear that the 20-story proposal could set a precedent that opens the floodgates for other developers with a desire to erect high-rises.

Antunovich explained that a 20-story building with 200 rental units was necessary to make the construction financially viable.

Also at issue was the modification of the tower’s purpose from a hotel to a residential property.

Gateway Phase II residential tower proposalSeveral residents familiar with the project said the main reason it was approved by community groups in 2011 was because of the promise of new jobs the proposed hotel would deliver. A rental property would not provide that benefit, and some expressed a feeling that this is a bait-and-switch deal.

Jack George, the attorney representing the property owner, said that efforts to attract a hotel company to open shop at the location were unsuccessful. Antunovich said most hotel chains looking for a downtown Chicago location favor River North. The West Loop simply isn’t on their radar.

27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, after getting an earful of protests from the audience, expressed his feeling that the project can’t be approved as a residential building given the public sentiment.

George stated that if an interested hotel company can be found, the project may move forward.

Bill Motchan

Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at

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  1. I am not about to get all “stupid NIMBYs” but I am very perplexed at the people in the West Loop are concerned about exactly when 200 apartments are added to the neighborhood? Perhaps someone who attended can share light on this beyond the height of the building itself.

    I just dont understand from an economic perspective of why this would be a negative thing. I am guessing 90% of the people who would live there would also work in the loop. Also, they probably would just walk next door if they needed groceries. So both of those endevors would not require a car. So I cant follow the traffic logic which would be even worse with a hotel due to cab pick up and drop offs anyways.

    As a condo owner, I would welcome more apartments in the area because one it creates economic development in more residents equals more businesses. Two, most people want to rent in a neighborhood before they determine to buy. So, adding more businesses and life plus more potential condo suitors would be a good thing.

    I also read that this building would be going up no matter what since it was already approved? Not sure if I read that right in the DNA CHicago article.

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  2. David, the property owner can erect a hotel (the approval was already granted for that purpose). The community meeting last night was a key step toward changing the use to residential. So, a hotel is still a viable option, but only if the developer can find a hotelier interested in this location.

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  3. sigh….

    until the 60 somthings and suburban familiesmove out of the west loop, look for this type of thing to continue. Its very troubling.

    I dont think they understand that this area can go one of two ways. It can either become a residential area or a commerce area..and commerce is pushing much harder west than residential is pushing east.

    complaining about views and traffic is not an acceptable argument when you live MERE BLOCKS from the epicenter of of such a large metorpolitan area. ffs

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  4. The 60 somethings who live in the neighborhood want to stay in the neighborhood. And the “suburban” famlies who live in the West Loop aren’t “suburban”, they’re city famlies, who want to grow and settle in the city. All of those strollers you see at the park on Monroe and Peoria are growing, and those famlies want to grow and expand in the West Loop. It’s the famlies and 60 somethings, combined with young and middle aged workers that make the West Loop such a unique place. The proposed building will only have 4 out of 200 units that are bigger than 1100sqft. Those types of units don’t attract famlies and promote stability to a neighborhood. If people wanted that they move to the South Loop. Look at the comparison in the stability of South Loop condo prices versus West Loop ovr the last 10 years. Its not even close.

    Part of what makes the West Loop special is the “feel” you get from not having high rise buildings, but still being within walking distance to the Loop. This is why there aren’t any buildings over 12 stories west of Halsted. If you start allowing developers to set a new precedent and build higher than 12 stories, you will ruin that “feel” and in one of the special aspects of the neighborhood.

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    • Editor

      The statement that smaller apartments don’t attract families isn’t entirely correct. Smaller apartments attract young professionals who are testing the neighborhood to see if they really like living there. If they do, they end up settling down and buying a condo and having babies.

      They’re the 21st century equivalent of the 1950’s “starter home” and the city treats them that way.

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