353 West Grand Gussied Up and Ready for the Chicago Plan Commission

River North’s next de-luxe apartments in the sky-ay-ay may rise at 353 West Grand.  The project, which has been in the works since 2013, is finally ready to head to the Chicago Plan Commission for a vote.

September 2018 rendering of 353 West Grand (via the office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)

September 2018 rendering of 353 West Grand (via the office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)

Canada’s Onni Group is trying to turn the space that used to be the Clark and Barlow hardware store into a 38-story residential tower with 356 new homes.

The first version of the project, unveiled in 2015, was a 32-story tower with a crown like a half-eaten Kit Kat bar, but nice vertical channels and setbacks.

The second go-around this past June was more… Chicago.  Meaning a tall box on top of a wide box.  Think pretty much every other residential block that went up in the Gold Coast in the 1970’s and 80’s.

September 2018 rendering of 353 West Grand (via the office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)

September 2018 rendering of 353 West Grand (via the office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)

353 also comes with a block-long, five-story podium that will bring a little more retail to the area, while storing up to 261 cars, and blocking a few of the neighbors’ views.

We won’t point out that even fewer views could be blocked by putting the parking underground.  Onni is cool with underground parking in its hometown projects, but Chicago will bear the brunt of another parking podium.

The new version takes 353 traffic out of the alley between it and the Sexton Lofts and moves traffic to an interior driveway which connects to the parking garage and also has dedicated spaces for taxi and valet service.

In an e-mail to his constituents, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly noted that there have been a few other minor changes made since the June version went public.  Mostly dealing with pulling as much of the building as possible away from the Sexton Lofts, and doing a little landscaping.

The tiny parklet on North Orleans street remains.  It will have direct access to the building’s retail.  We’ve seen this done before at various residential buildings around the city, with varying degrees of success.  It seems to largely depend on what retailers move in to the space.

In documents filed with the city, the LP running the show is called “Onni Grand,” which is not a bad name for a tower.  The last time we saw a developer put its name on a building in Chicago, was the Habitat Tower at 360 West Hubbard Street, also in River North.  Today it’s called Hubbard Place.

353 West Grand heads for the Chicago Plan Commission Thursday, October 18, 2018.

Firehose time:

  • Developer: Onni Group
  • Architecture firm: Brininstool and Lynch
  • Address: 353 West Grand Avenue
  • Net site area: 37,260 square feet
  • Zoning DX7 → Planned Development
  • Floor area ratio: 11.5 (7.0 base + 4.5 bonus)
  • Maximum height: 452 feet
  • Maximum length: 359 feet
  • Maximum width: 109 feet 2 ½ inches
  • Maximum residences: 356
  • Retail space: 11,500 square feet
  • Automobile parking: 261 spaces
  • Loading docks: 2
  • Residential entrance: via West Grand Avenue
  • Parking access: via West Grand Avenue
  • Dog run: Fifth floor
  • Amenity deck: Sixth floor

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 chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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