Buck’s New River North Skyscraper Turns A Church Parking Lot Up To “Eleven”

Rendering of 311 West Illinois

Rendering of 311 West Illinois

“What do you get when an architect, a developer, and a priest walk into a bar?”

That was the joke that initiated last night’s community meeting for The John Buck Company’s newest proposed skyscraper, to be built at 311 West Illinois Street.

Rendering of 311 West Illinois

Rendering of 311 West Illinois

Not unlike numerous other proposed developments in River North, this tower (currently being referred to as “Eleven”) will stand 23 stories high and contain 245 rental units ranging from studios to three-bedrooms that sit atop a parking podium, with retail space on the ground floor.

Perhaps what makes this development somewhat unique is its intertwinement with the adjacent Assumption Catholic Church.  The parking lot is owned by the United States Province of Servites, and used by the church.

According to the developer’s proposal, the parking podium will have 35 spaces to be legally owned by Assumption Church. And as part of construction of the residential tower, there will be an independent lobby entrance (with exclusive elevator and stairs) so that Assumption members to access these spaces.  According to the church bulletin, the 35 spaces will encompass one floor of the building.

The John Buck Company also proposed numerous enhancements to the Church’s currently existing structures. These include adding an additional story to the the one-story priory building that sits on the other side of the Church sanctuary, and landscaping improvements to the Church’s outdoor garden and patio area.

The crowd’s sentiment towards the proposal seemed to be one of contentment, especially when compared to that of other recent community meetings. Apart from the typical “you’re blocking my view” moment, attendees mainly expressed their concern about an increase in traffic.

In its current state, the land is another undeveloped downtown parking lot. As 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly remarked, we can all agree there is a much better use for this space.

Some quick details:

  • Developer: The John Buck Company
  • Residential tower architecture firm: FitzGerald Associates
  • Church upgrades architecture firm: McBride Kelley Baurer
  • Floors: 23
  • Residences: 245
  • Amenities: pool, fitness center, and outdoor grilling area
Location: 311 West Illinois Street, River North

Author: Zachary Pollack

Zachary is a lawyer by day and architecture buff by night. At the office Zachary focuses his practice on working with commercial real estate developers and developers focused on subsidized housing projects. Although Zachary grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, he had his heart set on Chicago ever since visiting as a child and being in awe of the city's skyscrapers. Zachary lives in Old Town. On weekends you can find him strolling the streets checking out progress on all the construction sites. Feel free to get in touch with Zac at zpollack@krasnowsaunders.com

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