Six Stories on a Dog’s Parallelogram

Diagram of 715 North Milwaukee

Diagram of 715 North Milwaukee

The nighttime view of Chicago from either the observation decks at either the John Hancock Center or the Willis Tower   reveals Chicagoland to be a grid of twinkling pearls stretching out into the Illinois prairie.  But then every once in a while this logical perfection is disturbed by streetlights that insist on going all diagonal.

Whether it’s politics (Kennedy Expressway), or greed (Ogden Avenue), or history (Clark Street) that causes these thoroughfares to go rogue, they certainly do make a mess of what would otherwise be a perfect sight for those of us with OCD tendencies.

But while observatory viewers largely forget about the irregularities by the time they hit the elevator, Chicago’s architects have to deal with the strange plots of land left behind.  The result is any number of “flatiron” buildings in the older parts of town, and oddly shaped residential outposts along the highways.

Another one of those oddities is coming to Milwaukee Avenue, the 40-mile diagonal oddity that will, sort of, connect you to Milwaukee through the help of progressively larger roadways.

The new building is planned for 715 North Milwaukee Avenue, just north of the Ohio Street feeder ramps in River West.  In order to fit in with the angular street grid imposed by Milwaukee Avenue, the back end of this plot is chopped off by West Huron Street.  But that’s not going to stop Contemporary Concepts from putting a residential building in this space, complete with parking and retail space.

Even though the space is currently, technically, a vacant lot, and this project is pretty small, expect some opposition.  The neighbors have appropriated the space for use as a makeshift dog park, complete with fencing and even its own Yelp review page.

Now, the firehose:

  • 715 North Milwaukee Avenue
  • Developer: Contemporary Concepts
  • Architecture firm: Studio Dwell
  • Maximum height: 71½ feet
  • Roof height: 65 feet
  • Levels: six
  • Lot size: 5,852 square feet
  • Floor area ratio: 5.0
  • Floor space: 26,260 square feet
  • Residences: 25
  • Parking: 13 spaces
  • Bicycle parking: 29 spaces
  • Loading docks: none
  • Residential lobby: West Morgan Street
  • Retail space: Milwaukee Avenue

Location: 715 North Milwaukee Avenue, River West

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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