Three Years Later, a River North Skyscraper is Redesigned and Reproposed

It’s been a little while since the last proposal for a residential skyscraper in River North.  But things are starting to roll again.

In an e-mail to constituents, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly announced that 353 West Grand is in play again.  You may remember that address as the former home of the Clark and Barlow hardware store.

It’s been a little over a year since we last wrote about this property.  Back in April of last year, River North Spy Brian spotted a geotechnical crew geotechnicing in the parking lot, tasting the dirt down below to figure out what can be built up above.

Since then, it’s been crickets.  Until this past Friday’s announcement from Mr. Reilly.  He’s called a public meeting for next Monday, June 18th at 6pm in the East Bank Club so that the developers of the new tower can present their plans to the public.

Rendering of 353 West Grand

A rendering of the 2015 version of 353 West Grand

When the first residential building was announced by Vancouver’s Onni Group for this location back in 2015, it was going to be a 32-story, 330-unit building designed by Pappageorge Haymes.

The building to be presented next week will be 38 stories tall, with 356 units, according to the alderman.  The LP handling the development is called “Onni Grand,” possibly giving away the name of the new building that will sit on the southwest corner of West Grand Avenue and North Orleans Street.

Back in ’15, residents of the neighboring Sexton building blew their stacks at the idea of losing their views of the Office Depot parking lot, and the Ohio Street offramp.

The last public meeting about this building also produced one of the strangest events in 42nd Ward public meetings.  The previous ward alderman, Burt Natarus, was at the meeting, and as we reported at the time:

Natarus stood up and told the audience that he deserves the blame for transforming River North from an industrial district into a residential skyscraper district. He added, “I’m a bad man.” Apparently exasperated with the NIMBY sentiment in the room, he told the audience he had no idea where they got the notion their views were protected.

What will become of those views will become clear next week.  The current alderman says that Onni has taken local residents’ concerns into account in redesigning the skyscraper.  Whether those changes will be enough remains to be seen.




Location: 353 West Grand, River 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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