Fulton Market Transformation Reaches Union Park

You don’t have to be an old-timer to remember when Chicago’s Fulton Market district was a no-go zone for most people.  It was a place crammed with triple-parked refrigerated trucks, forklifts zipping to and fro, and freshly slaughtered carcasses visible to all through loading dock doors.

It’s not like that anymore.

Today Fulton Market has taken the hipster aesthetic that failed to thrive in Bridgeport and transformed it into an imaginary “Innovation District” utopia of MacBooks, craft cocktails, and other people’s money.  The outlanders trying to will this corner of Chicago into San Jose East (the so-called “Silicon Prairie”) fail to realize that the people who made Silicon Valley what it is today hate what Silicon Valley has become, and are fleeing to places like Reno and Salt Lake City.

While we appreciate some of the things that the gentrification of Fulton Market has brought — like sidewalks and cell phone service — the area has been losing its soul for a long time.

That’s why when we read the zoning applications that Marquette Development filed for the neighborhood recently, we couldn’t help but feel like it’s really finally over for the “market.”

The locations of 1400 and 1440 West Randolph (Via Apple Maps)
The locations of 1400 and 1440 West Randolph (Via Apple Maps)

Marquette wants to put up a new 21-story residential building called 1400 West Randolph at Randolph and Ogden, along with a smaller building across the street, bringing more than 400 new apartments to an area that just a few years ago was uncomfortably close to Garfield Park.

Diagram of 1400 West Randolph. View from Randolph Street, facing north.

The smaller building (called 1440 West Randolph) is snuggled in the angle between Union Park and the CTA’s Green and Pink Lines tracks above Lake Street.  The taller building is across Odgen Avenue, allowing its west-facing residents the ability to peek over its little sister to see the park, and its festivities.

This project was filed with the city as two separate zoning requests.  Interestingly, neither mentions the other.  

A standard large zoning application in Chicago includes a diagram of the immediate area showing the heights of the neighboring buildings.  This is useful for the aldermen and other bureaucrats to see if a proposed building is out of scale for the rest of the neighborhood.  The application for 1440 only shows a single one-story building on the plot of land where the 21-story 1400 building is proposed.  And the application for 1400 shows a collection of two-story buildings where nine-story 1440 will go.  

Diagram of 1440 West Randolph from Randolph Street, facing northeast.
Diagram of 1440 West Randolph from Randolph Street, facing northeast.

Although the 1440 building shares a common podium, visually it presents itself as two distinct buildings above — one that is six stories tall, and one that is nine-stories tall.  They even have their own lobbies and bicycle parking facilities.

There are a few details that are still a bit murky.  In the paperwork for 1440 filed with the Office of the City Clerk, “The Planned Development has a total of 175 new housing units.”  But the filing’s Bulk Regulations Table lists “Maximum Residential Units for PD: 260 dwelling units.”  It is possible for a building to have fewer residences than its maximum allowed by its zoning, but that is unusual in a project of this size. 

The same Bulk Regulations Table also has the developer’s name listed as “MP Randolph LLC” instead of “MP Union Park LLC,” and the project address is listed as 1400-1410 West Randolph Street” instead of “1436-1450 West Randolph Street.” 

And there are references to 1440 being an “eight-story building”
when the architect’s plans clearly show a ninth floor, and there is even a separate page titled “9TH FLOOR PLAN” showing six apartments and both indoor and outdoor amenity space.

Hopefully this will all be cleared up soon. It’s not like we’re perfect, either.

  • Address: 1400-1410 West Randolph Street
  • Address: 1436-1450 West Randolph Street
  • Developer: 1400 West Randolph – MP Randolph LLC
  • Developer: 1440 West Randolph – MP Union Park LLC
  • Architecture firm: Beininstool + Lynch
  • Size: 1400 West Randolph – 24,400 square feet
  • Size: 1440 West Randolph – 51,388 square feet
  • Zoning: 1400 West Randolph – C1-3 → DX-7 → RBPD
  • Zoning: 1440 West Randolph – C1-3 → C1-5 → RBPD
  • Floor area ratio: 1400 West Randolph – 11.4
  • Floor area ratio: 1440 West Randolph – 5.0
  • Floors: 1400 West Randolph – 21
  • Floors: 1440 West Randolph – 9
  • Roof height: 1400 West Randolph – 223 feet, 10 inches
  • Roof height: 1440 West Randolph – 103 feet, four inches
  • Length: 1400 West Randolph – 221 feet, one inch
  • Length: 1440 West Randolph – 466 feet, five inches
  • Width: 1400 West Randolph – 138 feet, seven inches
  • Width: 1440 West Randolph – 132 feet
  • Maximum residences: 1400 West Randolph – 252
  • Maximum residences: 1440 West Randolph – 260
  • Planned residences: 1440 West Randolph – 175
  • Residential access: via West Randolph Street
  • Retail space: 1400 West Randolph – 8,606 square feet
  • Retail space: 1440 West Randolph – 7,202 square feet
  • Retail access: 1440 West Randolph – via West Randolph Street and North Ogden Avenue
  • Retail access: 1440 West Randolph – via West Randolph Street and West Lake Street
  • Automobile parking: 1400 West Randolph – 67 spaces Automobile parking: 1440 West Randolph – 59 spaces
  • Bicycle parking: 1400 West Randolph – 225 spaces
  • Bicycle parking: 1440 West Randolph – 342 spaces
  • Garage access: 1400 West Randolph – via North Ogden Avenue
  • Garage access: 1440 West Randolph – via an alley between Lake and Odgen
  • Loading docks: 1400 West Randolph – 2
  • Loading docks: 1440 West Randolph – 2
  • Loading dock access: 1400 West Randolph – via North Ogden Avenue
  • Loading dock access: 1440 West Randolph – via an alley between Lake and Ogden

Location: 1400 West Randolph Street, West Town

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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