It was one thing when the brick warehouses and sheet metal abattoirs west of The Loop were set upon be developers throwing up 10, 12, even 14-story buildings in the neighborhood. But these days 30, 40, and 50-story buildings are de rigueur in an area where not so long ago you couldn’t even buy a good cup of coffee.
The latest entries into the ultra-urbanization of the area come from Related Midwest. We’ve been telling you about the company’s plans for two towers in the greater Fulton Market area for a long time now, but this week it presented the plans to neighbors.
The first tower, and harder sell, is 170 North Peoria. It’s a project Related is doing with Tucker Development to put up a 51-story residential building. Overall height is 570 feet with 51 floors. The building comes with 300 condominiums and a matching number of parking spaces in a garage hidden from street view.
At its base, ten older buildings will be rehabbed into 92,000 square feet of retail space and offices. New York’s Morris Adjmi Architects did the design, with the Chicago office of Edmonton’s Stantec playing AOR.
The second building to have a cotillion this week is 725 West Randolph. This 680-foot-tall tower adds another seven floors, for a total of 58. It’s a 165 room hotel married to a 370-unit apartment building, with the hotel bit being the oft-talked-about Equinox-branded hotel. It was designed by Connecticut’s Roger Ferris & Partners.
The Randolph building is the easier of the two to accomplish. Even though it’s taller, it’s right up against the Kennedy Expressway, and helps complete a wall of similarly-sized skyscrapers shielding Greektown from the pollution and cacophony below.
Peoria is more problematic. Even though it’s just two blocks away, it’s symbolically very near the heart of the neighborhood. A neighborhood that has had a history of distrusting tall buildings, and which regularly opposes them.
When the first slaughterhouses and wholesalers started moving out of Fulton Market, the hippy urban pioneers sneered from their brick lofts, saying if you let new, large buildings into the neighborhood, other, bigger ones, will flood in. They were uncouth in their opposition methods. However, they were also right.
But perhaps that’s just the nature of downtown. The Loop’s skyscraper district has to expand. And it’s not like the west side is being specifically targeted. River North, Near North, and the South Loop are also sprouting skyscrapers like Agatha Christie’s garden sprouts homicidal plants.
Moreover, skyscrapers seem inevitable for the downtown’s near west environs. As Related’s grand poobah, Curt Bailey, told Crain’s Chicago Business recently, yes he has big plans. But they all fit within the city’s overall designs for the area.
Interestingly, though, even though Related had two public meetings about two neighboring buildings this week, the renderings it presented don’t show both buildings at the same time. If neighbors could see something like that, they might have a better shot at developing an informed opinion.
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