Construction Update
Another Residential Building Hugs The Kennedy

Visually, it’s not the most interesting new building in Chicago, but soon a dozen or so people will call it home.  880 North Milwaukee Avenue is the latest in a series of new developments recently approved by the city along the bustling, and sometimes confusing, corridor between Bucktown and Downtown.

Diagram of 880 North Milwaukee

Diagram of 880 North Milwaukee

In the last decade, as the city’s demographics, ward boundaries, and notions about private car use have changed, this street has gone from industrial backwater to an essential link between jobs and homes.  Early on in the hipsterization of the city’s marginal nooks the city responded with a simple bicycle lane, and that has grown and evolved into a major human-powered commuting route.

In tandem, developers are turning Milwaukee Avenue’s vacant lots, vacant bow truss factories, and vacant commercial buildings into swanky new condos.  Being hard against the interstate isn’t seen as a liability anymore, but as an engaging piece of life-sized kinetic art to be seen through showcase windows.

Taking advantage of a pair of adjacent vacant lots (878 and 880), Vari Architects (just three doors down) came up with a design putting eight residential units above a single retail space.  That retail space will encompass virtually the entirety of the lot as a podium, while the residences above will be set back from the freeway-adjacent lot line by 30 feet.

  • Address: 878 North Milwaukee Avenue
  • Address: 880 North Milwaukee Avenue
  • Architecture firm: Vari Architects
  • Stories: Five
  • Maximum height: 62 feet
  • Height to roof: 55 feet
  • Maximum width: 48 feet
  • Maximum length: 122 ½ feet
  • Floor Area Ratio: 3.27
  • Floor Area: 19,240 square feet
  • Residences: Eight

Location: 880 North Milwaukee, Goose Island

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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