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Transforming Chicago’s ‘West Fulton Market’ Into The City’s Next Great Area


The Fulton Market District has become one of Chicago's hottest neighborhoods to live, work and play — and CRE investors and developers haven taken notice.

Once a meatpacking district, Fulton Market is bustling with a lively restaurant and nightlife scene, retail spaces and hotels. The district is also known for its heavy corporate presence, including Google, Mondelez International, Kraft Heinz and McDonald’s, all of which have set up shop in the area.

Now that the city has effectively lifted the longstanding ban on new residential development in the district, developers have been eager to jump into the mix and get their foot in the door, too.

One local multifamily and development company saw the potential in the area as far back as 2014 when it decided to develop its first multifamily building called Catalyst. Since then, Marquette Cos. has been dedicated to revitalizing the area becoming known as West Fulton Market.

“A few years back, there was a lot of buzz about Fulton Market being the next up-and-coming neighborhood,” said Marquette Cos. Director of Development Ann Reckelhoff. “With the success that we saw with Catalyst, our first multifamily property in the area, Marquette knew the area would boom and wanted to provide the community with more residential opportunities.”

Founded in 1983, Marquette Cos. says it has become a major player in the transformation of Chicago’s core. The developer currently manages more than 15,000 apartments across the country, and it has a multifamily/mixed-use portfolio valued at more than $3.3B.

Reckelhoff said that seeing the number of companies relocating from the heart of the city to smaller submarkets cemented the firm’s decision to expand their presence in the area, essentially creating what is now known as West Fulton Market.

“Seeing both companies and residents appreciating the unique feel and brand of Fulton Market made us feel like it was the next great area to develop,” she said. “We view West Fulton Market as the gateway to the city from the west.”

Reckelhoff said that since its acquisition of the Catalyst property nearly 10 years ago, Marquette has developed several multifamily properties in West Fulton Market, including The Mason, a 263-unit apartment complex, Parq Fulton and Evo Union Park, the firm's most recent multifamily developments, and The Thompson, a 211-unit multifamily complex opening in 2023.

Parq Fulton, which opened its doors in March of 2022, is a 278-unit, 25-story multifamily building that sits on the corner of Randolph Street and Ogden Avenue, two major arteries in the city. The building is a mix of convertibles, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units — along with 10K SF of commercial space, currently occupied by Bambola and Coquette, two Bonhomme Group restaurants. Reckelhoff said it’s also fully amenitized with social lounges, a fitness center and a rooftop pool. 

Thanks to its prime location and proximity to the hustle and bustle of Fulton Market, the complex is 92% occupied — which Reckelhoff said is a “really successful lease-up.”

On the other side of Ogden Avenue sits Evo Union Park, an 11-story, 242-unit apartment complex that borders Union Park — a 13-acre green space where residents can enjoy the benefits of nature while still being close to all that the city has to offer. With a bohemian influence, Evo Union Park stays true to the area’s industrial roots with exposed concrete ceilings and industrial-style fixtures, Reckelhoff said.

Marquette has also chosen to move its development and acquisitions teams to Evo Union Park.

“Residents of both of these developments get that suburban neighborhood feel, including trees, grass, parks, playgrounds, all while remaining in the city,” she said. “What our residents love about the neighborhood is ultimately also why Marquette chose to bring a corporate presence to the neighborhood.”

Continuing its slew of development, Reckelhoff said that a property Marquette purchased on North Ashland Avenue — located on the opposite side of Union Park from Evo and Parq Fulton — will be the future site of a 12-story multifamily complex called The Thompson. Reckelhoff said what makes this property fascinating is that it was once the site of a historic women’s hospital called the Mary Thompson Hospital, named after its founder and one of the first women to start practicing medicine in the city, Mary Thompson.

“We tore down the three-story building that was part of the original hospital, but we kept the masonry building on the property because it really ties into the character of the neighborhood,” she said. “We're renovating the masonry building, and then we're building a 12-story tower next to it and connecting the two. The original building was important for us to keep as it maintains a rich history and original feel of the neighborhood.”

While this project has yet to be completed, it’s sure to be one of the company’s most unique properties, she said. 

Overall, Reckelhoff said that Marquette has built up West Fulton Market by “building its own little community.” With Union Park acting as the center point of all of these developments, there is a true neighborhood feel while still remaining amid one of the nation’s largest cities.

Reckelhoff said the firm is not only creating new properties around Union Park, but it is helping out the neighborhood by making improvements to revitalize the park itself, including landscaping improvements, trash collection, fixing old walking paths and creating new social areas with picnic tables and benches. In conjunction with the Chicago's Park District, the firm is also making improvements to the park’s recreation center and donating materials for the center’s library.

“The amount of people that these developments will bring to the area will be essential to its growth and revitalization,” she said. “More residents bring more restaurants, nightlife and retail space. Marquette started the development trend in West Fulton Market, and we expect it will continue to grow.”

This article was produced in collaboration between Marquette Cos. and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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