Planned Loop Tower Two Stories Shorter, and 40% Closer to Reality

It’s been a year and a half since Crain’s Chicago Business let the cat out of the bag about 50 East Randolph Street. Back then, the Thomas Roszak proposal was expected to replace a grungy parking garage with what was speculated to be a 27-story residential tower. Our guess was 35 to 40 stories, and we were totally wrong.

May 2019 rendering of 50 East Randolph (Courtesy of the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)
May 2019 rendering of 50 East Randolph (Courtesy of the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly)

Forty-second Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly has the goods on this one, telling his constituents that a plan is advancing for a 25-story mixed apartment/condo block at this location. It’s expected to have 214 residences up top, 6,400 square feet of retail space below, and two floors of parking in between.

The average unit size is 946 square feet, which is pretty good for this location. Even the smallest units, at 550 square feet, are larger than many new studios being built in downtown Chicago these days. Heck, they’re 15% larger than some of the studios at snooty 875 North Michigan.

No one should complain about this building being too big. Its neighbors are the 57-story Heritage at Millennium Park, and the 42-story 73 East Lake Street. And at 293 feet tall, 50 East Randolph is 147 feet shorter than the currently allowed zoning for this corner.

More important for the greater good is the fact that 300 public parking spaces are going away to be replaced by 70 residents-only spots. Seriously, Michael Bloomberg is worth $62 billion, and rides the subway to work every day. You can get a Ventra card.

The location is great. The only way it could be any Loopier would be to move it 50 feet west across the L tracks, which are right on the Wabash side of the building. Fifty East Randolph’s residences are above track level to cut down on noise, but in our experience it doesn’t really matter. We lived for two years on the corner of Lake and Wells, and because of the way sound travels in an urban canyon, even 25 floors up with “soundproof” windows, the trains were constant companions. The good news is that we quickly got used to it. In fact, somehow brains got programmed that we’d wake up in the night if the trains stopped running.   The Blues Brothers didn’t lie.

Still from The Blues Brothers
Jake: How often does the train go by?
Elwood: So often that you won’t even notice it.
  • Address: 50 East Lake Street
  • Developer: Moceri + Roszak
  • Architecture firm: Thomas Roszak Architecture
  • Size: 296,000 square feet
  • Height: 293 feet
  • Floors: 25
  • Amenity floors: 4, 18, and 19
  • Residences: 214
  • Apartments: 190
  • Condominiums: 24
  • Sizes: 550-square-foot studios to 2,600-square-foot four-bedroom condos.
  • Retail space: 6,400 square feet
  • Parking: 70 spaces
  • Parking garage access: via East Benton Place

Location: 50 East Randolph Street, 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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