Three days ago, the City of Chicago issued building permits, and site prep is underway, for the latest residential tower to buffer Greektown from the Kennedy Expressway. Arkadia will rise 33 stories at 765 West Adams Street.
The building’s tower was originally oriented east-west in order to preserve views of downtown Chicago for people in Greektown and West Town, while the podium reflected noise from I-90/94 below. But Greektowners and West Townarians at a public meeting balked at the idea, saying any tower would make them feel trapped. So now the tower faces north-south, completely obliterating the view for those complainers, but likely doing a significantly better job of soundproofing the neighborhood.
You may remember that this building’s developers went to Olympic lengths (see what I did there?) to make the bog standard “Parking podium + residential tower” into something more befitting the neighborhood. They planned a blue-and-white Helenic paint job, and to put Greek-themed art the sides of the building, some of which would be cleverly illuminated from within by the movements of cars in the parking garage.
Now that the building has a name, and permission to build, it appears that all of the flourish has been stripped from it, and it’s yet another generic Chicago apartment building. It is Greek in name alone. Arkadia is the name of a district in Greece, and the home of the Greek god Pan.
Who’s to blame? You could point the finger at FitzGerald Associates, the architecture firm behind the design. But FitzGerald is the same group of creative West Loopers who put together the refreshing plan for 1 South Halsted a couple of blocks away. The Fitzies can very easily point the finger back at the developer, White Oak Properties, which is located out in some suburb where, perhaps, its principals don’t have to look at their buildings every day. After all, architects will put together designs as flamboyant as the developer’s whims and wallet allow. Then again, isn’t it the architect’s job, craft, and charge to work miracles with virtually nothing? How many of us are called on by our bosses to do the impossible every day?
However, there is at least some hope for a solution to the lack of perforated art in this Greek Dent Crisis (see what I did there?). While the latest drawing out of FitzGerald Associates – dated June, 2013 – doesn’t show any fenestration decoration, the latest plans approved by the City of Chicago – dated December, 2012 – specifically state that the parking garage is covered with a “Metal Screen with Graphic.” So there may be a chance we’ll still see Greco bowmen nestling.
In the end, we’ll just blame that Generic Chicago Apartment Tower sale they were having over at Blueprints `R` Us last week. I know I was tempted by a number of as-yet-unbuilt Streeterville towers I saw in the bargain bin.
Enough hyperbole. Here are the cold, hard facts:
- Architect: Michael E. De Rouin
- Architecture firm: FitzGerald Associates, in Chicago
- Developer: White Oak Realty Partners in Rosemont
- Price: $34,200,000
- Stories: 33
- Maximum height: 365 feet
- Roof height: 344 feet, 8 inches
- Podium height: 64 feet, 4 inches
- Length: 199 feet, 2 inches
- Width: 178 feet, 9 inches
- Residences: 351
- Parking: 357 spaces
- Loading berths: 2
- Parking and loading access via West Quincy Street
- Street parking to be removed from West Quincy Street
- Retail facing: West Adams, West Quincy, and South Halsted Streets
- Resident swimming pool
- Resident hot tub
- Facade: Glass/metal in some places, concrete in others
- Going for LEED certification
- Green roof: 10,407 square feet
- ICBM coordinates: 41.8791172440167, -87.64660719216745