People want to live in the middle of cities today. They want to ditch their cars and walk to shops, restaurants, public transportation and theaters. And it’s not just young people: A mix of empty nesters, Baby Boomers and Millennials are all choosing the urban lifestyle in cities across the country.
That’s why we’re seeing so many new apartment buildings rising in the center of cities. Demand is high, and developers are racing to meet it.
Chicago’s River North neighborhood is no exception with over 2,000 units coming to market this year and next. In fact, apartment developers are especially busy in this part of the city. This shouldn’t be a surprise: River North features exactly what those seeking the urban lifestyle want, plenty of restaurants, shops, bars, theaters and options for public transportation.
Here, then, is a quick look at some of the most important new apartment projects now under construction in River North and slated for delivery in 2017 and 2018:
8 E. Huron
Located at the corner of State and Huron, the 26-story 8 E. Huron will bring plenty of high-end amenities to the area. The building, designed by Valeria Dewalt Train Associates and developed by CA Ventures, will feature a fitness center, outdoor grilling stations, infinity pool and demonstration kitchen. The building’s 102 apartments are expected to be ready for occupancy sometime this fall. The project also includes a dash of much-needed parking, spaces for 31 vehicles in all.
311 W. Illinois
River North has plenty of retail offerings. The 24-story, 245-unit 3Elven apartment tower, located at 311 W. Illinois, will bring even more. The 298-foot-tall project, developed by John Buck Company and designed by FitzGerald Associates, will feature 3,000 square feet of retail space once construction ends. But that’s just the beginning: Units in this glass tower will come with high-end appliances and finishes, while common-area amenities include an outdoor terrace, swimming pool and fitness center. The star of the show, though, might be the project’s roof deck, located high above the city.
676 N. LaSalle
Developers are working across the city to convert outdated office buildings into new uses. The project planned for 676 N. LaSalle is a good example. Cedar Street Companies plans to turn a River North office building here, a building the developer first acquired in 2015, into a modern glass apartment tower with 149 apartments. The apartments will be marketed under Cedar Street’s FLATS Chicago brand, a series of smaller apartment units located in smaller developments across the city. The project should be a nice addition to the neighborhood: The old office space was, like many outdated Class-C office properties, struggling to attract tenants. 676 N. LaSalle’s apartments, though, will no doubt have little trouble finding tenants.
167 W. Erie
River North had been known for its sometimes kitschy architecture. The Rain Forest Cafe and the former Rock-and-Roll McDonald’s being two good examples. Then there was the Gino’s East pizza restaurant at 167 W. Erie — once home to a Planet Hollywood — that featured two gigantic slices of pizza at its front entrance. The pizza is gone now, though, and is being replaced by Gallery on Wells, a brick-and-glass 39-story residential tower that will add 444 new apartment units to River North. Lowenberg Achitects designed the projects, while Magellan Development is developing it. This project will include 7,488 square feet of retail space, a 26,000-square-foot outdoor deck, pool, hut tub, fire pit and cabanas. Indoor amenities include a fitness center, sauna and game room.
165 W. Superior
Remember the old orange-roofed Howard Johnson hotel that long sat on LaSalle Street in River North? It’s gone. In its place is Exhibit on Superior, a 34-story, 298-unit luxury residential tower located at 165 W. Superior. The development’s main amenity might be its location. It boasts a Walk Score of 99 — quite high — and is located next to a well-landscaped park, a bit of green space in the middle of the city. The building also comes with a landscaped deck that features a lap pool, hot tub, grilling stations, fire pits and a lounge seating area. Like most modern residential projects, Exhibit on Superior also provides its residents with a modern fitness center complete with private training studios. The project’s lounge areas come with a fireplace, large-screen TV, game area with arcade games and a library nook.
640 N. Wells
The aptly named Six Forty residential tower, located at 640 N. Wells, will replace another River North institution when it opens this summer, Ed Debevic’s 1950s-themed restaurant. This luxury tower is selling the Chicago skyline. That’s because it offers what it calls a rooftop oasis on its 23rd floor. This amenity features private cabanas with their own TVs, a heated pool, hot tub and, of course, 360-degree views of downtown Chicago. There’s also the social club at the development’s penthouse level, which offers a restaurant-grade demonstration kitchen, fireside library and dining suite and a gaming lounge. The 251-unit building will stand out because of its architecture, too. Every two to three floors, Six Forty has a shift in its floor plate. This means that its balconies never hang over the building’s exterior.
221 W. Hubbard
Those looking for easy access to public transportation, plus all the modern amenities you’d want, have something to look forward to this December: That’s when Hubbard 221, at 221 W. Hubbard, is slated to open its door. The 23-story, 195-unit building will have easy access to the Brown Line’s stop at the Merchandise Mart. The property will also feature some inspiring architecture. Hubbard 221 will be made up of two glass buildings. First, there is the 23-story residential tower. At the corner of the development will be a nine-story glass office building that will curve along the El tracks. The project’s 21st floor should be especially appealing, with outdoor pools offering what promise to be stunning views of the city’s skyline.
750 N. Hudson
Due to open this summer at 750 N. Hudson, the 240-unit The Hudson will offer some of the largest floor plans of the new River North apartment and condo projects. The Hudson offers a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and flex spaces, ranging in size from 655 square feet to a whopping 1,950 square feet. One of the perks of these larger units are the kitchen spaces, which the marketers at The Hudson say are “chef-inspired.” Kitchens here will feature Bosch appliances, granite slab counter tops, full-height back splashes and plenty of space for whipping up gourmet meals. Other amenities here include an outdoor pool area with cabanas and hot tub; outdoor fire pits; a lounge with board games; chef’s catering kitchen; and an onsite fitness center.
905 N. Orleans
Located at 905 N. Orleans, Niche 905 is one of the smaller new residential towers in River North. The project stands 18 stories and offers 202 units. But just because Niche 905 is small, doesn’t mean it’s stingy with the amenities. The tower features an outdoor fire pit, rooftop pool and spa, entertainment room, sky-deck lounge and outdoor bar. For pet lovers, there’s an on-site dog run and even a pet-grooming area. Residents can also take advantage of a business center, fitness center and yoga studio.
833 N. Clark
The summer will see the opening of another new residential tower here with a terrific location — the Aurelien at 833 N. Clark. The building’s exterior draws its influence from European sources and features a combination of a glass curtain and concrete grid design. The 31-story building will include 373 units with floor plans ranging from studios to three bedrooms. Amenities include a social club, garden terrace, parlor, business center and party room. If you like bocce ball? There’s a court on the building’s fourth floor.