After 7 Years, Loop Residential Building Finally Hits Paper, Bridge to MDA

Things are finally coming together for the new residential building coming to 171 North Wabash in The Loop.

Drawing of 171 North Wabash

Drawing of 171 North Wabash, as presented in May of 2016.

We first reported on 171 way way way back in 2011, when it was the companion building to what is now called Experience 73, around the corner but still adjacent, at 73 East Lake Street.  Experience ate a parking garage to build a 42-story residential tower, and 171 was going to eat a surface parking lot/parking garage combo to put up a small office building.

Experience was finished in 2014, and even used the 171 space for construction staging.  But the future of 171 was a mystery until last spring when it was revealed that 171 wouldn’t be an office building after all.  Instead, it was going to be residences.

Now that plan has finally been filed with the city’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards.  It will, indeed, be a residential building.    A seven-story building with 81 homes, and ground floor retail.  It was designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture.  Sister structure, Experience, was an SCB joint.

In the new city filing, the developer is asking for permission to add another 21 residential units to the 171 building, beyond was was already allowed in Planned Development 1116.  Because of that request, the city’s new affordable housing rules are triggered, meaning the developer will have to build a couple of “affordable” housing units nearby, or pony up a little under $360k for the Chicago Housing Authority to do it.

The new plan also includes a sixth-floor skybridge to the MDA City Club Apartments to the north.  Which makes sense since this building is being developed by the MDA folks, but still owned by Consolidated Equities III.  This makes 171 MDA’s sister from another mister.  Sadly, even though it’s 60 feet in the air, the skybridge will have no windows.  It will be faced in sympathetic brick.

Even though this building is short, compared to its immediate neighbors (42 stories at Experience 73 and at 24 stories at the MDA Apartments), its roof deck is ambitiously kitted out with landscaping, lounge chairs, a trellis, an outdoor fireplace, some kind of pool (probably just a paddle pool), cabanas, and a hot tub.  There is no evidence of a time machine, though.

  • Address: 171 North Wabash Avenue
  • Developer: CCA MDA II LLC
  • Zoning: PD1116
  • Site area: 7,795 square feet
  • Maximum Floor Area Ratio: 7.24
  • Maximum height: 98 feet, 11 ½ inches
  • Roof height: 80 feet, 11 ½ inches
  • Maximum width: 60 feet
  • Maximum length: 119 feet, eight inches
  • Maximum residences: 81, all efficiencies
  • Automobile parking spaces: Ø
  • Loading docks: 1
  • Residential entrance: East Benton Place
  • Retail entrance: North Wabash Avenue

Location: 171 North Wabash Avenue, The Loop

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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