One of the most difficult balancing acts in urban planning is retail versus residential. More people means more retail can thrive. But too much retail means retail failure, and less of an incentive for people to arrive. It’s the cycle of life.
Well, all those new residential developments in the Gold Coast and Near North neighborhoods must mean great things for the submarket’s retail desirability, because even old buildings are getting into the game.
It was a little over a year ago that we told you that the Chestnut Place apartment building planned to eviscerate its ground floor retail space, wipe out the awkward little plaza along State Street, and put up two floors worth of shops.
Now Gold Coast Spy Tim has put the fruits of Chestnut’s labors in our tip line in the form of a series of photographs showing the progress so far, which includes moving the residential entrance for the building from State Street over to the little Chestnut dead end.
And so far, we like what we see. The rendering that someone dropped into our tip line back in 2015 shows lots of limestone and dark wood. But what’s actually happening appears to be much lighter, glassier, and all around better for street life.
This portion of State Street is already a little crowded, with the sidewalk on the west side too narrow sometimes to handle the number of people walking by. We’ll see how the removal of the Chestnut Place’s grubby little plaza affects that, especially when crowds gather to cross at the light.
Hopefully, the new stores will class up the block, which has always seemed a little run-down. The good news for people who live at Chestnut Place is that the retail expansion came with a renovation of all 280 apartments in the 1980 building.