Sterling Bay unveils latest plan for new Fulton Market apartment tower – Chicago Tribune

Fulton Market is already one of the hottest housing markets in the country, and another massive apartment tower is likely to break ground before the end of the year. Developer Sterling Bay unveiled its latest plan for the first phase of 1300 W. Carroll Ave., a 515-foot structure that company officials say they hope to secure the city’s approval in the US, during a virtual community meeting Wednesday night during a virtual community meeting to receive in the coming months.

Sterling Bay updated its original design beginning in late 2021 after Department of Planning and Development officials and community residents said they wanted to see more green space. The originally required large podium would have spanned much of the block and was replaced with one with a smaller footprint, opening up enough space for a pocket park on the east side of the building and a public plaza on the west side.

As developers transform the former industrial area into a swanky residential district and high-tech business hub, larger parks and other open spaces are likely to become more common in new developments, according to Sterling Bay CEO Fred Krol.

“It’s not possible at every location,” he said. “But there are just more residents in Fulton Market and the West Loop, and they want extra green space.”

Sterling Bay and his architectural firm, SOM, expanded the green space at 1300 W. Carroll St. by more than 50%, he added. After hearing similar calls at another series of community meetings, the company also added green space to its original design for a boutique office building near 360 N. Green St., where groundbreaking took place last year.

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“People love their dogs and want a place to walk them,” he said.

The property at 1300 W. Carroll St. was once home to Archer Daniel’s Midland Wheat Mill, a collection of loft office buildings, grain elevators and silos familiar to commuters on the adjacent Metra Railroad tracks. Conservationists fought to save the buildings, some of which date back to the 19th century, and after purchasing the site for $25 million in 2020, Sterling Bay first drew up preliminary plans to preserve the old structures and put them into use to integrate a housing estate. But after structural engineers scrapped the idea, Sterling Bay vacated the site in early 2021.

Other key changes were unveiled during Wednesday’s meeting sponsored by the West Central Association, a local community group. Sterling Bay’s original plan called for a 418-foot tower in the first phase and a 515-foot building in the second phase. The new plan flips the height of the buildings, and the slender first phase will reach 515 feet, have a total of 361 units, and sit on a redesigned podium meant to resemble the old silos. The developer also chose to move much of the parking underground, freeing up even more space for the public parks.

Sterling Bay has yet to release a final design for its second tower, but when complete the complex should have 741 units. The first phase will next go before the Chicago Plan Commission, perhaps as early as April, Krol said, but still needs full city council approval.

Like most large housing developments recently launched in Fulton Market, Sterling Bay’s latest project will provide 20% of these units as affordable housing, Krol added.

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For years, developers in the expensive neighborhood had resisted pressure from planning officials to include so many affordable units, preferring instead to meet their obligations under the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance by donating to an urban development fund or building off-site units in built in less expensive areas. However, a stimulus program signed by Gov. JB Pritzker in 2021 promises steep cuts in property taxes for developers willing to place all affordable units locally.

“We’re definitely going to look at that,” Krol said.


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