Atrium Village Replacement Loses A Skyscraper

Remember when the Near North NIMBY brigade complained that the project called Old Town Park that’s replacing the time-worn Atrium Village was just too many towers?  Better late than never, they’re getting their wish.

Vancouver’s Onni Group, the developer of Old Town Park have a new plan for the project, and it involves ditching a 39-story residential tower, keeping a nine-story building, and re-orienting the remaining skyscrapers. In the image below you can see what was formerly planned, and what we’re looking at today.

Comparison of Old Town Park configurations

Comparison of Old Town Park configurations

Building Four is what’s out the window.  It was to be a 39-story, 395-foot-tall residential tower on the south side of West Division Street at the CTA Brown/Purple line tracks.  Also taking a hike is its serpentine four-story parking podium that would have run along the entire western limit of the property.

Instead, that area will be filled in largely with park space, along with a bit of surface parking.

Old Town Park under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)

Old Town Park under construction. You can see the to-be-saved nine-story building just to the left of Tower One.  (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)

Tower Three, which was to run north-south near the middle of the property’s West Hill Street frontage has been re-oriented so that now it is going to be an east-west block hard against Hill Street.  This will free up some light and air for the center of the property, and reduce the shadows that will fall on the existing nine-story residential building which will not be torn down after all.

Still, Tower Three gets a height boost from 35 to 39 stories, as does Tower Two (202 West Hill Street) which increases from 337 homes across 31 stories and 340 feet to 428 homes across 39 stories and 430 feet.  It will keep its location on the northwest corner of Wells and Hill Streets, but becomes more square instead of a thin north-south rectangle.  Building Two’s parking podium increases from three to six stories, which matches Building One.  It also makes room for a total of 426 parking spaces, up from 253.

Earlier this month we told you that Building One had already been given a small height boost.

Building Five, a small four-story residential building on Division also disappears, along with almost all of the project’s townhouses. These were mostly used to cleverly camouflage the tower parking podiums, similar to what’s been done at Lakeshore East, and something we’d like to see more of because of the positive impact it can have on the feel of a neighborhood.

It’s a drastic reconfiguration of the project.    The result is an increase of about 6,  400 square feet of green space.



Location: 1140 North Wells Street, Near 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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