Construction Update
New 56-Story Michigan Avenue Tower Gets Money, Gets Busy

This morning it was announced that the developers of Essex On The Park, the new 56-story apartment building in the South Loop landed a $170 million loan to begin construction of the luxury tower. Almost simultaneously, work crews showed up at 808 South Michigan Avenue to put up scaffolding and barriers so that demolition, and eventually construction, can begin.

Rendering of Essex on the Park (Courtesy of Oxford Capital Group/Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture)

Rendering of Essex on the Park (Courtesy of Oxford Capital Group/Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture)

Essex on the Park was designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and is part of the reinvigoration of the old Essex Inn, a venerable and incredibly visible hotel facing Grant Park. Oxford Capital and Quadrum Global are renovating and expanding the hotel to 271 rooms, while also putting up a 479-unit luxury apartment building next door.

Essex on the Park pre-construction (Courtesy of Loop Spy Drew)

Essex on the Park pre-construction (Courtesy of Loop Spy Drew)

Loop Spy Drew sent in the photo above showing crews unloading barricades and bits of scaffolding to separate pedestrians from the pending construction site.

The 620-foot-tall Essex on the Park is the one of three huge new skyscrapers planned to line the southern portion of Grant Park. Site work is already underway at 133 East Roosevelt Road, where a 76-story, 887-foot-tall residential skyscraper will soon rise. The wildcard now is 1000 South Michigan, which is anticipated to rise 832 feet just two blocks south of the Essex complex.

Press release follows.

Essex on the Park winter garden (Courtesy of Oxford Capital Group/Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture)

Essex on the Park winter garden (Courtesy of Oxford Capital Group/Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture)

CHICAGO — A partnership of Oxford Capital Group, LLC and Quadrum Global today announce that it has secured a $170-million loan to facilitate the construction of Essex on the Park, a new 56-story, 479-unit luxury apartment building at 808 South Michigan Avenue. As part of the project, the adjacent Essex Inn at 800 South Michigan Avenue, a historic, 254-room independent hotel, will be expanded to 271 rooms, comprehensively repositioned and upgraded into the Hotel Essex, a luxury lifestyle hotel, starting in late 2018, before reopening in 2019 — concurrent with the grand opening of Essex on the Park.

“We have long been believers in the desirability and irreplaceability of Michigan Avenue real estate in Chicago. This is particularly true of real estate directly on the park and the lakefront, where residents have beautiful and unencumbered views and open space in perpetuity. We are also believers in the continued and growing attractiveness of ‘walk to work and walk to play’ downtown living for people across the demographic spectrum. We’re excited to get started,” says John W. Rutledge, founder, president and CEO of Oxford Capital Group, LLC, the Chicago-based, national developer, sponsor and manager.

Oleg Pavlov, founder and CEO of Quadrum Global, a global development, investment and management firm, stated: “We are very pleased with the terms of this highly competitive institutional financing that our joint team has been able to obtain for this large-scale mixed-use project. To us, this underscores the continued strength of Chicago’s Downtown market, the city’s vibrant economy, as well as Essex’s unique location and the strength of sponsorship.”

Jordan Ray, Ari Hirt, Steven Buchwald and Jamie Matheny of Mission Capital Advisors advised ownership and ran point in sourcing the financing from a global investment bank.

“It’s extremely challenging for developers to secure non-recourse construction financing in the current lending environment, particularly for transactions of this size, but we had the privilege of working on a very well-conceived project with marquee sponsorship and a fantastic location,” Ray said. “This is a complex, large-scale hotel and apartment project in a highly-competitive market. Despite the size and complexity, we were able to generate interest from multiple lenders who were willing to provide full-stack financing on a non-recourse basis.”

Essex on the Park’s rental residences will have high-end finishes including 9-10′ ceilings, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, and in-unit washer/dryers. Amenities will include a multi-story “winter garden” with indoor pool, hot tub, and multiple indoor-outdoor spaces, including outdoor grills/kitchens, cabanas, fire pits, and sliding walls with striking views overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan. Residents will also enjoy a billiard/game room, business center and conference room, expansive state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga / fitness-on-demand room, club room, exhibition kitchen, bike storage, and four floors of onsite parking. The property will also feature the unique offering of in-building access to a chef-driven three-meal restaurant as well as a bi-level “sky bar” and a night life venue overlooking the park and lake, SX, showcasing fully retractable walls.

The apartments will consist of a wide array of unit-types including a mix of studios, convertibles, and one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. The top two residential floors of the building will include four extraordinary penthouse duplexes featuring elegant finishes, gourmet kitchen, large master suite, private outdoor space, and spectacular views of the Lake Michigan, Grant Park, and the Chicago skyline.

Essex residents will benefit from being a part of a mixed-use complex, including a high-design lifestyle hotel leveraging Oxford’s distinctive approach to hospitality management – featuring high-touch, customer-friendly service while seamlessly integrating unique programming and leading edge technology.

Oxford and Quadrum each have significant experience with high-profile development projects in Chicago and across the country. The two developers recently collaborated to create the award-winning Godfrey Chicago, a 221-key luxury lifestyle hotel that includes the largest indoor/outdoor hotel rooftop lounge in the city. They are also in pre-development of an adaptive-reuse office to hotel conversion project at 168 North Michigan Avenue.

Essex on the Park and the redevelopment of the Essex Inn are the 15th and 16th Oxford developments in the Chicagoland area. Recent noted Oxford-led local projects include The Godfrey, The Langham, LondonHouse, Hotel Felix, Hotel Cass, and Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile (formerly The Wyndham Chicago).

Details on the extensive scope of the Essex Inn repositioning will be released at a later date.

For more information about Essex on the Park, please visit

Location: 800 and 808 South Michigan Avenue, South Loop

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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