West or East River North? There’s a Big Difference

There’s plenty to do this summer in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, everything from free movie nights in A. Montgomery Ward Park to the annual Taste of River North food fest and high-end shopping along the Magnificent Mile.

To the outsider, it might look like River North is one large area of restaurants, condo towers, shops and office buildings. But there are nuances to River North. It’s Western half, though still dotted with restaurants and shops, is a quieter, residential neighborhood.

But the Eastern half of River North is where the real retail and restaurant action is. This is the home of the Magnificent Mile and its stretch of shops and restaurants. This is where the tourists flock, especially on weekend nights. Continue reading “West or East River North? There’s a Big Difference”

New construction condo boom underway in River North

The 61 West Erie condo building is now under construction.

More people are choosing to rent today, and if you travel through River North you’ll find plenty of new-construction apartment buildings rising in this neighborhood. But developers aren’t limiting themselves to apartments. Many are now building new condominium towers, too, in River North.

These new condo towers are a bit different, though, from what developers have brought to River North in the past. Today’s new condo buildings tend to be smaller, with anywhere from six to 75 units. New apartment rental towers in the neighborhood, on the other hand, tend to house hundreds of units.

And the new condos hitting River North tend to cater to the luxury buyer, with most units in them priced at $1 million or more.

Here’s a quick look at some of the new condo towers hitting River North. Continue reading “New construction condo boom underway in River North”

Goodbye kitsch, hello class: River North continues transformation into modern, cosmopolitan neighborhood

A common-area space at River North’s Exhibit on Superior residential tower.

Remember the days when you could stroll past giant pizza slices, an orange-roofed Howard Johnson hotel and retro ’50s diners in Chicago’s River North neighborhood? Well, those days are ending.

High-end residential towers are replacing many of the kitchy establishments that once called River North home. It’s one more sign that this neighborhood — which still attracts the tourists, of course — is becoming more sophisticated. That’s good news for residents moving into all the new apartment towers: When they’re ready for shopping, eating or entertainment, they now have plenty of higher-end options. Continue reading “Goodbye kitsch, hello class: River North continues transformation into modern, cosmopolitan neighborhood”

Lucien Lagrange’s Long Lasting Impression On Chicago Architecture

The Pinnacle Tower, one of the signature Lucien Lagrange-designed buildings in the city.

Few architects have had the impact on Chicago’s skyline as has Lucien Lagrange. Lagrange has designed 27 important buildings in the city, including many in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Some of the key buildings that this Paris-born architect has designed include Chicago’s Park Tower, 65 East Goethe, the Waldorf Astoria and the Ritz Carlton Residences.

Lagrange isn’t quite as prolific as he once was, and he officially announced his retirement at least once, in 2010. “Retired,” though, isn’t quite the right word. Lagrange today runs his own Chicago-based studio, and is now working on a five-story luxury housing development in downtown Winnetka.

Lagrange, though, is best known for his work in the city, and his influence in River North has been particularly impressive.

Interested in living in a Lucien Lagrange building? You have plenty of options. Lagrange is known for his range. As his studio’s website says, he is one contemporary architect who can design everything from a Beaux-Arts hotel to contemporary steel-and-glass office towers. Continue reading “Lucien Lagrange’s Long Lasting Impression On Chicago Architecture”