Dishing Up River North’s HoJo Tower

720 North LaSalle diagram

If you read any of our three, count’em—three, social media channels earlier today, then you were promised more information on the new residential skyscraper proposed for 720 North LaSalle Street.  Or as we’re going to call it for now— The HoJo Tower.

We call it that because it doesn’t currently have a better public name, and because if built, it will replace the Howard Johnson motor lodge in the heart of downtown Chicago.  Part landmark, part eyesore, it provides minor thrills to fans of googie architecture, and a comforting slice of home to I-state tourists.

720 North LaSalle diagramAccording to Crain’s Chicago Business, the tower is a project of Mac Management and Magellan Development, designed by friends-of-the-blog, bKL Architecture.   You may remember bKL from such hits as The Coast, and the Wolf Point West Tower.

Crain’s speculates that the building will be apartments, not condos, since the downtown apartment market is hot like an Alinea flambé—meaning quite hot.  The downtown condo market is more like a Margie’s Jumbo Turtle Split—meaning not hot at all.  And kind of messy.  And nutty.  And a little bloated.

Sadly, the Crain’s article was very short of details.  It’s not Crain’s fault.  With the exception of Donald Trump, developers largely hate talking about their developments.  Even a publication like ours, with six-figure readership, can only occasionally find a developer willing to tell us how proud they are of their newest skyline-changing project.  Friends of the blog, Related Midwest and Fifiled Companies are two notable occasional exceptions.

But if it’s secrets you’re into, then stick to the impossibly small and uncomfortable confessionals at Saint Peters’s in the Loop.  Don’t go waving a wad of paper around Chicago City Hall. That’s how things end up in this blog.  You do realize that we actually pay people to hang around city hall and text us sweet nothings, right?

So here’s the bird’s-eye low-down on this caper, and all of its accompanying monochrome isometric deliciousness.  Enjoy!

  • Developer: Mac Management
  • Developer: Magellan Development
  • Developer umbrella name: Superior Park, LLC
  • Architecture firm: bKL Architecture
  • Address: 141-171 West Superior Street
  • Address: 712-720 North LaSalle Street
  • Address: 713-721 North Wells Street
  • Residences: 298
  • Height to roof: 400 feet
  • Stories: 38
  • Property size: 31,472 square feet
  • Retail floor space: 10,557 square feet
  • Length: 309 feet
  • Width: 105 feet
  • Parking: 118 spaces
  • Bicycle rack capacity: 220 bicycles
  • Loading docks: 2 residential, 1 commercial
  • Pool on 5th floor roof
  • Green roof alert! 9,479 square feet
  • LEED certification goal




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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  1. Very exciting!
    Great to see, build it!
    Do not let NIMBY folks or untrained aldermen balk and try to downsize this.
    Chicago needs to get moving forward and gain back some population it has lost. Get people back in the city, and bring their jobs and taxes back with them. We want them back!
    Strike in the neighborhoods that are hot.

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  2. How did they achieve the increase in FAR? It says affordable housing bonus. Does that mean they donated more money to the general Chicago affordable housing fund or that they are going to have affordable housing on site? Who would be or qualify for affordable housing if they are going to have it on site?

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    • Editor

      The original F.A.R. was 7.0. The developer is seeking 0.63 for the setback, and 1.0 from the affordable housing bonus for a total F.A.R. of 8.63.

      It appears from the documents I’ve read that how the affordable housing bonus will be taken care of has not yet been determined. My guess is that it will be a cash payment because that’s what most developers in this neighborhood do. But it’s still very early days on this, and Housing hasn’t even reviewed the plans yet. The developer may be waiting to get some preliminary approvals and hear back from Housing about how much money would have to be contributed before deciding what to do.

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