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Fulton Market Residential Development Showing Signs Of Taking Off

It doesn’t look like the coronavirus pandemic will do much to slow down the flurry of development that recently transformed Fulton Market and the surrounding neighborhoods. Brokers say prospective tenants continued over the winter to tour new office sites, and office developers like Sterling Bay, Ryan Cos. and IBT Group have continued to propose new towers for the neighborhood.

Class-A multifamily developments typically rise alongside new office buildings, and developers still see opportunity in the area. Since November, at least four developers have proposed new residential projects with 51 units or more in or near Fulton Market, according to Chicago Cityscape. If approved, the collection would add more than 1,300 new units and join other major projects unveiled before the pandemic, including Related Midwest’s planned 43-story, 300-apartment tower at 906 West Randolph St. and its planned two-tower complex of apartments, hotel rooms and offices at 725 West Randolph St.    

1201 West Fulton Market St.

1201 West Fulton Market St. - Chicago developer Fulton St. Cos. this week proposed constructing a 433-unit apartment building at 1201 West Fulton Market St., according to Block Club Chicago. The developer just filed a zoning application with the city for the site, located 2 blocks west of Google’s regional headquarters and just north of Lake Street.

This could be first of several large residential projects proposed for this slice of Fulton Market. Until last year, 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett had used his power over local development to forbid the construction of residential projects north of Lake Street. Burnett said he worried introducing hundreds or thousands of apartment dwellers would endanger the area’s remaining industrial jobs, but the pandemic changed his mind, and he said he now considers residential development important to bolstering the economy.

But he also said he would require developers to keep 20% of their units affordable, a higher percentage than typically required by the city to secure a zoning change. Burnett has not yet taken an official position on Fulton St. Cos.’ newest proposal and won’t until it is presented at a community meeting, according to Block Club Chicago. The project also needs approval from the Chicago Plan Commission and City Council.  

The 381-foot-tall building would be a joint venture with Chris Merrill of Chicago-based Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

140 North Ashland Ave. - Marquette Cos. has been one of the most prolific developers across West Loop neighborhoods such as Fulton Market, and it is prepared to keep going. Last month, the Naperville, Illinois-based developer asked the city to approve its plan for a 210-unit building at 140 North Ashland Ave., adjacent to Union Park and just west of Fulton Market.

Marquette’s plans for the area received a punch to the gut during the pandemic last year when an institutional investor called and said it was backing out of the firm’s plan for several new apartment towers and more than 500 units on the 1400 block of West Randolph Street in Fulton Market. But Marquette bounced back, breaking the massive project into several components, and soon secured financing for the $85M 1454 West Randolph St., a planned 243-unit building. And by fall, it got the necessary funding for 1400 West Randolph St., a planned 278-unit building.  

That flood of capital kept Marquette’s confidence in the area high, and its proposal for 140 North Ashland Ave. would replace a substance-abuse clinic with a 12-story apartment tower and reserve 10% of the units as affordable apartments, with another 21 affordable apartments developed off-site, according to Crain’s.

160 North Elizabeth St.

160 North Morgan St. - Also in February, Sterling Bay asked city officials to approve a 320-unit residential tower at 160 North Morgan St. The move would be its first apartment building in the neighborhood, according to Crain’s, and supplement its nearby office developments, including McDonald’s world headquarters, located around the corner at 1035 West Randolph St. The Morgan Street development would also supplement Sterling Bay's plans for a 14-story office tower at 1200 West Carroll St. Like Marquette’s plan for its Ashland tower, Sterling Bay will reserve 10% of the units as affordable and develop another 32 off-site.  

160 North Elizabeth St. - Developer Moceri + Roszak proposed late last year to build a 27-story apartment building at 160 North Elizabeth St. in the West Loop near Restaurant Row. The firm is stretching out to the West Loop after spending several years in the downtown core. It recently began leasing for Parkline Chicago, a combined condo and apartment tower at 60 East Randolph St. it is scheduled to finish this spring. The firm also recently completed other downtown projects such as LINEA Apartments at 215 West Lake St. and 145 South Wells St., a boutique office tower.

Moceri + Roszak secured approval for its proposal by the Chicago Plan Commission last week, and the city council gave it the green light Wednesday, according to Block Club Chicago.