How Fifield Got a 28-Story High-Rise in Low-Rise River North
River North is an unlikely location for high-rise luxury. But that didn't stop Steve and Randy Fifield from breaking ground on the 28-story luxury NEXT project earlier this month, paving the way for future multifamily developers in the area.
Steve says River North is still zoned for low-rise, low-density commercial and industrial, and that was the biggest obstacle to get NEXT past the planning stages. The Fifields worked with the Chicago Department of Planning and Development and studied approved nearby developments like Atrium Village in Old Town to make their case for NEXT. The tower is on a 30k SF parcel including the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) was supportive of the project and allowed Fifield to increase the density. Randy says residents were very supportive of the Fifields' proposals during meetings.
Randy (snapped with Steve) says NEXT will fill the “hole in the doughnut” in an area of River North lacking in affordable housing for tech and creative workers and will prove to be an attractive option for workers in the creative and technology jobs triangle of Goose Island, River North and the West Loop. Steve says projects like NEXT are vital to meet the needs for a growing population near the center of downtown. Population within the two-mile radius of Madison and LaSalle streets has grown by 100,000 in the last 15 years. Steve believes another 100,000 residents will move here in the next decade—more than the population of Evanston.
When NEXT is ready to open in 2017, 85% of its 310 units will be studio and one-bedroom apartments. Steve and Randy touted NEXT’s access to CTA’s Red and Brown Line stations. Planned amenities such as a 10k SF rooftop deck, conference rooms with WiFi (Randy estimates 30% of residents will work from home), a state-of-the-art fitness club and a bicycle “kitchen” will make NEXT a “more efficient” housing option. The Fifields selected Soucie Horner to handle the interiors. Randy says the apartments will have 10-foot ceilings and plank flooring, and will be the first buildings where the one-bedroom units feature walk-in closets and double sinks in the bathrooms.
NEXT’s most unique amenity: its “house dog,” Daisy (pictured). Residents in the apartments who can’t afford or don’t have time for a pet will be able to play with Daisy and use her as “pet therapy,” Randy tells us.