Construction Update
New South Loop Residential Tower Coming Online + Notes About Moving During COVID

If you’ve been looking for a transit-friendly apartment in the South Loop, a new option is about to open up. Draper and Kramer is now pre-leasing homes at Apire Residences, just a block from the CTA Green Line Cermak-McCormick Place stop, and a very short walk away from the Red Line Cermak-Chinatown station.

May 2020 rendering of the Aspire Residences (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)
May 2020 rendering of the Aspire Residences (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)

When the building at 2111 South Wabash opens in August, it will have 275 apartments and 88 parking spaces across its 24-stories.  It’s described thusly:

The design by Solomon Cordwell Buenz features an asymmetric base and glass tower with a “sawtooth” facade that creates a prismatic effect, changing the color of the building as the sun changes position throughout the day.

Apartments range from one to three bedrooms.  A 529-square-foot home starts at a not-too-bad-for-the-location $1,800.  Stand-out amenities include a “game room with sports simulator,” and if you’re tired of working from your actual home, there’s telecommuting space so you can still work from home without leaving your building.

May 2020 rendering of the Aspire Residences (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)
May 2020 rendering of the Aspire Residences (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer)

If the thought of touring an apartment building gives you the heebie-jeebies these days, Aspire’s leasing team can schedule a “personalized virtual property tour,” which sounds to us like a leasing agent walking around the building on FaceTime for you.  If that’s still not enough social distance, there’s also an interesting online tour on the Aspire web site that lets you walk through renderings of the building using an interface similar to Google Streetview.

We’ve heard a lot of opinions about moving during the COVID-19 lockdown.  Some people think it’s a bad idea, and we do, too.  But sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  We had to move just a few weeks ago for reasons that are not important, and it turns out that moving during “the new abnormal” isn’t as bad as we’d feared.

Doing a contactless move-in was very pleasant.  We never saw anyone from the property.  The landlord unlocked the unit and placed a packet with all of the paperwork and the keys and such on the kitchen counter at 9:00am, knowing that we would arrive at 9:15am to take possession.  Fewer people to deal with on a stressful day made a surprisingly big difference.

But there are also caveats.  Even though we confirmed with the moving company twice that the movers would be wearing masks and gloves, they showed up without any protective gear at all.  Fortunately, we were ready with our own supplies to give them.  They complained, but we insisted, and tipped a little extra because the masks make hefting furniture harder. 

Also, get all of your paperwork signed as early as possible.  We had to push hard on this because the landlord wanted to wait until the last minute due to the uncertainty in the world.  We ended up paying an extra two months of rent up front to ease his concerns and get his John Hancock on paper.  It’s not an easy thing to do, but eating ramen noodles for a while is better than having the property owner change his mind, leaving you without a place to live during a pandemic.  

It’s also worth noting that the pandemic has pushed some of the landlords who used to refuse to take credit cards into the 1990’s, and now they’d rather take plastic online or over the phone than touch someone else’s paper.  In a nice reversal, some are now taking credit card rent payments with no surcharge, while at the same time charging a fee if you want to use a check.  This feels like progress. 

If your company’s financial situation is so perilous that you can’t tally credit card fees as a cost of doing business like insurance or pencils, then I don’t have much confidence that you have the cash to properly run and maintain real estate, and I don’t want to live in your building.

Location: 2111 South Wabash Avenue, South 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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