Construction Update
River North Building Wants to Skip Ground Floor Retail

The thing that makes a city a city is its people.  And the number one goal of responsible urban planning is to get those people out of their homes and offices and onto the streets.  People walking around is good for public safety, good for commerce, good for the tax base, and is the number one thing that contributes to a vibrant urban fabric.  It’s something that the City of Chicago figured out a long time ago, and cities like Houston, Los Angeles, and Singapore are just now figuring out.

That’s why when you put up a residential building in most of Chicago, the city demands that the ground floor be retail space: something to engage the people of the neighborhood.  A reason for them to leave their homes.  An opportunity to support a web of mom-and-pop shops instead of schlepping out to some generic suburban mall, sending all that potential sales tax revenue to a neighboring city, and all that trickle-down revenue to some retail conglomerate in Australia or Canada.

Rendering of 360 West Superior

Rendering of 360 West Superior

Except maybe not at 360 West Superior.  That building is a glassy condo block getting ready to replace a pair of low-slung old brick buildings just off of North Orleans Street.  The people behind the project are asking the city’s zoning board for an exception to the rule.  They’d rather see the first floor of the building be put to “residential use.”

City-wide, it’s not an unusual request; though it’s less common downtown than in places like Ravenswood.

The larger reason for mentioning it is that this is the first time 360 has popped up on the radar since the project was first announced.  It shows that the developer is serious about putting shovels into the ground sooner rather than later.  It also gives us a good opportunity to recap the details:

  • Address: 360 West Superior Street
  • Developer: Ascend Real Estate Group
  • Architecture firm: FitzGerald Associates
  • Residences: 34
  • Floors: 12
  • Anticipated completion: 2019

Location: 360 West Superior Street, River 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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