It looks like Loyola University’s big new project for the Gold Coast will make the transition from paper to real life. The Chicago Plan Commission has given its blessing to a 36-story apartment tower and a 10-story classroom building to be built along North State Street between East Chestnut Street and East Pearson Street. The project still needs full city council approval, but that’s pretty much a rubber stamp process at this point.
Both buildings have been designed by friends-of-the-blog, Chicago’s own SCB. But while the university will be the developer of the classroom building, it has hired Newmark to develop the residential tower.
The residential tower doesn’t have a name yet, but has the legal address of 1 East Chestnut Street, which is probably good enough. It will be 410 feet tall with 367 apartments.
While it may be intuitive to think that since the tower is being developed by Loyola and is in the midst of Loyola’s Water Tower campus, it’s being designed for and marketed to students. But it turns out that is not the case. According to the university, college students can’t afford to live downtown and will continue to be bused in from Loyola’s Lake Shore campus.
Of course, that won’t stop some student’s rich grandmother from paying his rent in the new building, or a group of students choosing to share an apartment. But based on Loyola’s previous experience, students would rather live with other students, and that means up north, not downtown.
While there aren’t expected to be many students in the new tower, they will, of course, be found in the new Quinlan School of Business building next door.
The 10-story building is organized into a series of stacked neighborhoods where students can go to class, see their professors, and participate in related activities without having to constantly trek across campus.
The entire building is arranged around a grand staircase that’s intended to be not just for transport, but a place to hang out and gather. It’s large enough to accommodate speakers, presentations, and maybe even movies. It will be interesting to see how this works out.
Being sacrificed to this progress are 14 and 16 East Pearson. These are rated Orange by the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, which means that they’re interesting. But they’re not interesting or unique enough to be saved, and will be flattened to make way for the new buildings. Demolition is expected to begin by the end of May. The residential tower should be done by April, 2015. The classroom building will be finished a few months later.