Construction continues at the base of Millennium Park Plaza (151 North Michigan Avenue), the 40-story residential building on Michigan Avenue in the Loop that’s transforming its first and second floors into a retail and office arcade. It’s one of six retail construction projects underway along Michigan Avenue in the two blocks between Millennium Park and the Chicago River, and has already inked a deal for a giant flashy trendy pizzeria to open there.
Rising retail rents and shrinking hotel vacancies have developers banking on this short stretch of road becoming high-dollar overflow for the renewed enthusiasm happening on the Magnificent Mile. In addition to the work at Millennium Park Plaza, 333 North Michigan is also renovating its lower floors for improved retail; Michigan Plaza is building a better, more visible, more inviting, connection between Michigan Avenue and its pedway concourse shops; the 200 North Michigan residential tower about to start construction will have two levels of retail space; 360 North Michigan is being renovated into a hotel with ground-floor retail; and the former Atlantic Bank building is also becoming a hotel, though its retail possibilities seem limited.
It’s interesting that the Michigan Plaza is working on a significant connection between its retail space and Michigan Avenue. At one time, the city of Chicago wanted to do just that sort of thing down the block at 315 North Michigan. It was going to replace the four-story building with a grand staircase leading up to the Illinois Center and the pedway, but that never happened. (By the way, if there are any developers out there will a little cash to burn, 315 North Michigan is currently zoned DX-16. Helloooooooo possibilities!)
One would think that at least some of the north Loop and Mag Mile retail ebullience would spill into the terraced riverside plaza of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, but to date there are no signs of that area will cater to anyone but lost tourists and tumbleweeds any time soon.
(Hey, Trump people—Give me a jingle on the blower. I’ve got an aces way for you to fill all that space with clean, high-paying, high-profile clients that would make your building even more of a landmark than it already is!)