Another Downtown Parking Garage Gets a People Topper

403 North Wabash (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

403 North Wabash (Courtesy of bKL Architecture)

Last week we told you about a downtown parking garage that is getting a vertical expansion at 195 North Clark Street.  Well, it’s happening again; this time at 403 North Wabash Avenue.  Crain’s Chicago Business has the details on the latest idea for wringing more value out of that chunk of land behind Trump International hotel and Tower (401 North Wabash Avenue) with a low-density residential block.

If the Crain’s story sounds familiar, it should.  We broke the news six months ago that developers wanted to reach for the sky with an apartment or condo addition to the existing parking garage.  Back then, it was your honey dripping into our tip line that buzzed the word that it would be a low-density affair with just 18-stories.

Now we know that the Belgravia Group project designed by bKL Architecture will have just 45 large condominiums with price tags up to three million dollars.  The project is now down to 17 stories, with 15 of those being the 2,200 to 3,300-square-foot residences.

This isn’t the first time developers have posited perching a place for people upon the parking podium.

Back in 2013 we told you about plans to build an 18-story hotel on top of the 403 North Wabash parking garage.  As we reported at the time, the notion was killed by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly:

The audacious plan was fueled by the text of a 1974 city ordinance permitting a hotel at the location. Back then, the area was still mid-rise, and mostly light industrial. Today, it’s a busy bar, residential, and tourist district with skyscrapers out the wazoo. (“Wazoo” is the technical urban planning term for “buttload.”)

Yesterday the Chicago Plan Commission approved a change to Planned Development 113, which was requested by Alderman Reilly. As it’s put in the paperwork: “The purpose of the technical amendment is remove hotels and motels as permitted uses within the planned development”

With hotels scotched from the menu, that leaves residential for any vertical expansion at 403.  And this time Mr. Reilly can’t outlaw residences at that location because its zoning is intertwined with the already built 56-story River Plaza residential tower right next door.


Location: 403 North Wabash Avenue, Near North

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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