South Loop Getting New Apartment + Hotel Complex

The Chicago Plan Commission has donned its mitre, picked up its crosier, and bestowed its blessings on a new mixed-use development in Chicago’s South Loop.

August, 2021 rendering of 525 South Wabash.
August, 2021 rendering of 525 South Wabash.

Oddly-titled developer e-Terra+ is the name behind the project which bears the BKV Group monogram, and will land 777 apartments and 314 hotel rooms in a two-tower complex that will ace a low-end parking place, and wrap around the back of Roosevelt University’s Goodman Center For Performing Sportsball.

This project is also intended to house a supermarket, which is a bonus for the neighborhood. But it still probably won’t stock Mr. Pibb, so manage your expectations.

Though the usual suspects in the beanstalk bunch bemoan its 420-foot stature and call its design unrefined, the original project was revised at least five times by our count. What started out as a 43-story skyscraper with a pair of 19-story siblings is now a 38-story skyscraper and a 23-story companion. So the project went from 80 floors of space down to 61. That’s better, if you live in the neighborhood; but perhaps the worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of ever to people who live somewhere else and envision the future of downtown Chicago as akin to a scene from Blade Runner.

August, 2021 rendering of 525 South Wabash.
August, 2021 rendering of 525 South Wabash.

Instead, when viewed from Grant Park, this project creates a good second-line of height behind the Congress Hotel. It’s not a stunning flagpole like the Legacy is or 1000M might someday be. It is a step, which allows something behind it to one day rise to even greater heights, adding visual texture to the city’s skyline instead of trying to transform every street into an ungrokable canyon of anonymous glass and concrete.

Here’s an overview of what we can expect when this is complete:

  • Addresses:
    • 525 South Wabash Avenue
    • 63-69 East Ida B. Wells Drive
    • 50-66 East Harrison Street
  • Developer: eTerra+
  • Architecture firm: BKV Group
  • Estimated cost: $350,000,000
  • Net site area: 52,841 square feet
  • Zoning: DX12 → Planned Development
  • Floor Area Ratio: 16.0 (12.0 base + 4.0 bonus)
  • Maximum height: 420 feet
  • Maximum length: 381 feet, 10 inches
  • Maximum width: 172 feet, 11 inches
  • Maximum residences: 777
  • Affordable housing: 78 units, all on-site
    • Three bedrooms: 7
    • Two bedrooms: 6
    • One bedroom: 26
    • Studios; 39
  • North Tower
    • Roof height: 265 feet, four inches
    • Floors: 23
    • Apartments
    • Hotel
    • Retail
  • South Tower
    • Maximum height: 420 feet
    • Roof height: 376 feet, four inches
    • Floors: 38
    • Apartments
    • Retail
  • Automobile parking: 152 spaces
  • Bicycle parking: 798 spaces
  • Loading docks: 5

Location: 525 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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