The Last Empty Lakeshore Lot in Downtown Chicago Gets Filled In

The official groundbreaking has been marked for 61 Banks Street, a new residential mid-rise that will rise midly on the corner of East Banks Street and North Lakeshore Drive in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.  This was the only open, developable land along the lakefront between the Chicago River and Diversey Harbor.

Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)

Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)

The new apartment block is a project of Draper and Kramer, and designed by Booth Hansen in the West Loop.  It is just eight stories tall, and features 58 residences.  Seven of them are townhomes.

When we introduced you to this project almost two years ago, we spake of it thusly:

Messrs. Draper and Kramer describe the location as “prime,” and this is one of the few times we can actually agree with real estate hype. The building will offer unobstructed — and unobstructable — views of Lake Michigan to the east, and is ensconced in a hotdish of landmarked buildings and districts so thick that, barring a Godzilla-triggered seiche, the rest of the neighborhood isn’t going to lose its genteel, leafy character in your lifetime or mine.  A toaster on the space station couldn’t make this location more upper crust.

The cartoon angel on your left shoulder is asking, “If it’s such a good location, why is it only eight stories and 60 units?”  The cartoon devil on your right shoulder knows the answer: Deep-pocketed and litigious neighbors who live in nearby skyscrapers blocking other people’s views who don’t, in turn, want their views blocked.  They got theirs; everyone else can go pound sand.

Even if you can’t afford $5,000 to $12,000 a month to rent one of these lakefront lily pads, the construction of this building is still good news, as it erases yet another surface parking lot.

More details in the press release following the renderings, all courtesy of Draper and Kramer.

Draper and Kramer Breaks Ground on 61 Banks Street in Chicago’s Gold Coast
58-unit boutique rental building designed by Booth Hansen expected to deliver in early 2019

CHICAGO (Jan. 4, 2018) – Draper and Kramer, Incorporated, has started construction on 61 Banks Street, a new boutique residential rental building along Chicago’s lakefront. The intimate eight-story property, which will grace the last undeveloped site on North Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast neighborhood, will feature a mix of 58 upscale two- and three-bedroom residences, including seven two-story “maisonette” rowhome units with direct street-level entrances and private terraces.

“The Gold Coast is Chicago’s premier neighborhood, and we’re incredibly proud to have designed a building that brings both a sophisticated design aesthetic and elegant lifestyle to match this prime lakefront location,” said Ed Polich, senior vice president and chief development officer for Draper and Kramer. “This building will be a unique residential enclave in one of this city’s most sought-after areas, not only delivering unmatched resident services, but also complementing the context of the Gold Coast and adjacent lakefront.”

Designed by Larry Booth, principal and director of Booth Hansen, 61 Banks Street will have a scale similar to the iconic residences nearby along East Lake Shore Drive. The building’s exterior will comprise traditional cast stone contrasted by modern glass and metal architectural bays. “The design of 61 Banks Street incorporates elements of the many fine examples of art deco and midcentury modern architecture found in the immediate neighborhood,” said Booth.

The building will be topped by a green roof with an expansive outdoor terrace as well as enclosed rooftop amenity space. The seven maisonette residences will flank the ground floor of the property, with these units’ street-level terraces as well as lush landscaping beds enhancing the streetscape on all sides of the building. All landscaped areas have been designed by award-winning landscape design firm Jacobs/Ryan Associates, while Leopardo Companies is serving as general contractor for the project.

Residences at 61 Banks Street will be generous in size, with two-bedroom units averaging 1,700 square feet and three-bedroom apartments averaging 2,400 square feet. Floor plans will showcase the property’s Lake Michigan frontage with open layouts, 10-plus-foot ceilings and expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows.

The resident experience at 61 Banks Street will be enhanced by the high caliber of craftsmanship and finish level found throughout the building and in each apartment, created under the guidance of Booth Hansen and renowned interior architect Darcy Bonner & Associates. Elegant apartments feature a warm, natural palette, custom details, spa-style bathrooms and gourmet kitchens with Bosch appliances, quartz and stone countertops, and built-in wine coolers. Engineered plank flooring runs throughout each residence.

“As always, our team sought out the highest-quality materials for these residences, selecting modern yet classic elements to be the backdrop for each resident’s own interior design choices and personal touches,” noted Darcy Bonner, principal of Darcy Bonner & Associates.

Residents at 61 Banks Street will also have access to a full-time hotel-style concierge and 24-hour valet parking.

“On-demand, individualized service will further define the lifestyle at 61 Banks Street, and our experienced building staff will be in place to deliver on that service promise,” said Polich. “Additionally, all residents will have access to the exclusive rooftop club, where they can enjoy the building’s amazing lakefront and skyline views.”

The rooftop club includes a glass-enclosed lounge, library, kitchen and well-equipped fitness center as well as a lushly landscaped roof terrace with outdoor seating, dining areas and grilling stations.

Monthly rents at 61 Banks Street are expected to range from $5,500 to over $12,000. For information or to be added to the property’s VIP list, visit

Location: 61 East Banks Street, Gold Coast

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

Share This Post On