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2014 Archive Page

Redevelopment on Ontario Street
New development by local SMASHotels planned for the 224-228 E. Ontario Street

December 2, 2014


SMASHotels is redeveloping a site along Ontario Street that is currently occupied by two three-story structures: one vacant and another with a couple of commercial uses including a nail salon.  The developer, ECD Company of Lincolnshire assembled both the 224 E and 228 E parcels for an as-of-right proposal, designed within the existing zoning constraints of the Downtown Mixed-Use (DX -12) District.  Other SMASHotel properties include: The Wit, The Fairfield Inn - Magnificent Mile and the Hampton Inn & Suites in Lincolnshire.  


Earlier this year, Alderman Reilly met with the developer to review the proposal and begin community process.  Since this proposal did not require a zoning change, the Alderman required the development group to meet with adjacent property owners and SOAR to present their plans and gather feedback.  The presentation previewed plans for a 17-story, 195-key modern designed hotel and a traffic study to identify the best solution for guest and commercial loading.  


The architects, Koo and Associates, Ltd. chose a more modern design to give homage to the block which was the former home of the Museum of Contemporary Art but also provide some aesthetic diversity to the streetscape while respecting the scale, coursing and property lines of adjacent structures.  Project traffic engineers worked closely with the Department of Transportation for final approval on a workable loading configuration.


Current Site:






From those mandated community meetings with SOAR and surrounding stakeholders and many months of work with the developer came some constructive changes to the initial proposal:

  • The hotel structure was designed with a setback 10' from the property line to better respect its neighbors and blockfront
  • The proposed hotel canopy which dramatically extended over the property line was eliminated 
  • The loading zone was recessed to help alleviate traffic congestion along Ontario
  • New trees will be planted along the frontage 
  • The color palette of the structure was modified for greater compatibility with the existing built landscape
Alderman Reilly is grateful for the collaboration with SOAR and adjacent property owners in review of this proposal.  This open dialogue for development review downtown, which has been in place since taking office in 2007, helps shape more compatible, contributing structures without exception.


Next steps for this proposal include demolition of the two existing three-story structures and site prep in the upcoming months.  To view a copy of the plans, please click here.


If you have any questions about this proposal, please do not hesitate to contact our constituent service office at: 312-642-4242.



New Pocket Park, Infrastructure Improvements and Parkways coming soon!

August 22, 2014


This week at The Chicago Plan Commission hearing, two River North projects were unanimously approved.  Both projects combined will deliver a new 8,000 SF pocket park, infrastructure improvements and parkways planters. The projects are located at 720 N. LaSalle and 167 W. Erie Street are being developed by Magellan Development Group LLC.


Approvals for these structures came after many months of negotiation with impacted stakeholders, in coordination and partnership with the River North Residents Association. Out of those meetings came requests for green space, infrastructure improvements, high-quality design/materials and more trees. We are pleased to report that the following two projects were able to deliver on each of those requests!



720 North LaSalle Street


720 N. LaSalle Street, designed by Tom Kerwin of BKL Architects, is a 382' tall, 298 dwelling unit building with commercial uses on the ground floor, 109 parking stalls provided on site (yet concealed from public view), and an 8,000SF pocket park at the corner of Wells and Superior Streets. The entire structure will be clad in masonry responding to the materiality of River North architecture.


The pocket park will be publicly accessible yet maintained and secured by building management with 24-hour door staff. The entire perimeter of the building will also have new parkways and trees.



720 North LaSalle Pocket Park


Infrastructure improvements will include:

  • Installation of a traffic signal at Wells and Superior;
  • Installation of countdown signals at the following intersections:
    • Wells and Huron
    • Wells and Erie
    • Wells and Ontario
    • LaSalle and Ontario;
  • Installation of a replacement light pole on the sought side of Superior, west of LaSalle.

To learn more, click on the following links to view the Bulk Table and PD Exhibits, PD Statements, and CPC Presentation.



 167 West Erie Street


The site is currently occupied by the former Gino's East, aka "the giant pizza slices anchored into the sidewalk" at 167 W. Erie. The approved development for this site is also a mixed-use structure with 39 stories, 450 residential dwelling units, ground floor commercial space, 219 off-street parking spaces (again concealed from public view) and over 29,000 square feet of green roof covering. And of course, the giant pizza slices will be removed!


The entire site plan includes the new residential tower with parking and ground floor retail, in addition to a modified existing office building, a one-story partial floor interior amenities level, as well as an exterior roof deck addition on top of the existing building next door.  


This development also includes all new streetscaping and trees along each elevation.


To learn more, click here to download the CPC presentation, Statements and Exhibits.


The Chicago Plan Commission (CPC), comprised of 22 mayoral appointees, is responsible for the review of proposals that involve Planned Developments  (PDs), the Lakefront Protection Ordinance, Planned Manufacturing Districts (PMDs), Industrial Corridors and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts.   



Over 4 Acres of New Park Space Coming to the 42nd Ward!

July 25, 2014


Alderman Reilly spent over two years negotiating developments which include 4.5 acres of new publicly accessible green space for downtown residents: River Point, 150 North Riverside and Wolf Point. Groundbreakings for two of the sites were held this past week.


Through his robust public process and after hundreds of hours of negotiations for these three projects, Alderman Reilly negotiated a network of over 4.5 acres of public open space, to be constructed at no expense to taxpayers.


River Point, a 45-story office tower currently under construction at 444 West Lake, will provide a 1.5 acre privately-built and maintained public park with a 450 foot Riverwalk to connect the development to the existing Riverwalk on the west bank of the Chicago River.


(Alderman Reilly at the July 24, 2014 Groundbreaking Ceremony for 150 N. Riverside)


150 North Riverside, which broke ground earlier this week, was first presented to the Alderman in 2011. After 18 months of discussions and nearly a dozen proposal iterations, Alderman Reilly was able to negotiate with the 150 N. Riverside developer to achieve over 1.5 acres of public open space.


The developer will construct a deck over the railroad tracks along the Chicago River between Lake Street and Randolph Street with green space and public river walk improvements above. The entire development will be privately funded, concealing unattractive, noisy, polluting rail tracks which are currently visible from many prominent downtown locations.


(From L to R: John O'Donnell, CEO of O'Donnell Investment Company; Alderman Reilly; John Ettelson, CEO of William Blair & Company; Jorge Ramirez, President of Chicago Federation of Labor; Commissioner Andrew J. Mooney, Chicago Department of Planning and Development)


Alderman Reilly also welcomed another riverfront project, which will bring 2.6 acres of green space to the 42nd Ward - the site commonly referred to as Wolf Point at 350 North Orleans.


(Wolf Point Groundbreaking on July 18, 2014)


(From L to R: Michael Carrigan, President, IL AFL-CIO; Tom Villanova, Chicago Building Trades Council; Mike Stotz, AFL-CIO Investment Trust; Chris Kennedy, Wolf Point Owners; Jorge Ramirez, Chicago Federation of Labor; Alderman Reilly)


Alderman Reilly successfully negotiated with developers via the planned development process to maximize the addition of more publicly accessible open green space on this site. Following several months of intense negotiations, the amount of public open green space on the site has mushroomed to a full 78% of the site - approximately 2.6 acres of the buildable area. In addition to expanding the sheer acreage of public open space, the Alderman's negotiations resulted in over 100,000 SF of riverbank park and open space.


Many of the Chicago Park District's neighborhood parks are not nearly as large as the planted areas will be, once complete.


Through the planned development process, Alderman Reilly always strives to secure as many privately-funded community benefits and improvements as possible. Alderman Reilly is pleased to report his successful negotiations have resulted in a number of meaningful public benefits, including more than 4.5 acres of public open space for all Chicagoans to enjoy!



To read the official press release for 150 North Riverside, click here.


More information about 150 North Riverside is available at 150northriverside.com.

To learn more about the Wolf Point Development Proposal, visit their website: www.wolfpointchicago.com.



River North Development Proposals for 707 North Wells Street and 100 West Huron Street

May 23, 2014


707 N. Wells Proposed Development




Akara Partners has proposed this development of a new 11-story, 51-unit apartment building at 707 N. Wells in the heart of River North. The mixed-use residential building will also include approximately 4,600 square feet of commercial space and 51 parking stalls on floors 2 and 3. The 51 residential units will be located on floors 4 through 11.   Please note this development does not require a zoning change. It is being processed as a DX-5 development proposal, as an as of right development.


100 West Huron Proposed Development




Akara Partners has also proposed developing a new 14-story, 28-unit boutique condominium building at 100 West Huron Street. The mixed-use residential building will include approximately 4,000 square feet of commercial space and 52 parking stalls on floors 2, 3, and 4. The 28 residential units will be located on floors 5 through 14.   Please note this development does not require a zoning change. It is being processed as a DX-7 development proposal, as an as of right development.


As part of Alderman Reilly's transparent community process for new developments, observations are welcome on this project. Please forward any comments for Alderman Reilly to consider to: development@ward42chicago.com



Community Meeting Summary for Development Proposal of 750 N. Hudson Avenue

May 2, 2014


Alderman Reilly and the River North Residents Association (RNRA) recently co-hosted a public presentation for a proposed development for the property located at 750 N Hudson known as "The Hudson". Alderman Reilly would like to thank everyone who participated in the open and transparent community review process.


Representatives of the ONNI Group development team presented their plans for a 25-story mixed-use building to contain 240 residential units, 10,000 square feet of retail space, two landscaped roof terraces for residents and an open green space at the corner of Kingsbury Street and Chicago Avenue.  The location of the proposed development spans the South side of Chicago Avenue from North Kingsbury Street to North Hudson Street.


If you were unable to attend the Monday, April 28 meeting, please click on the following link to download the slideshow presentation from the meeting.  Additional elevations have been included in this updated slideshow at the request of guests attending.  







Last Week at The Chicago Plan Commission ...  

December 23, 2014


The Chicago Plan Commission (CPC), comprised of 22 mayoral appointees, is responsible for the review of proposals that involve Planned Developments  (PDs), the Lakefront Protection Ordinance, Planned Manufacturing Districts (PMDs), Industrial Corridors and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts.  They met last Thursday to review a full agenda of items, including two projects in the 42nd Ward.   



451 East Grand Avenue 


Alderman Reilly is pleased to have once again partnered with SOAR in the review of an upcoming development in the Streeterville community. Over the past year, the development team was required to make a ward-wide presentation in addition to numerous smaller presentations at condo buildings surrounding the subject site.  The product of these many meetings with residents and city departments is a less dense, more compatible structure with a 1.5 acre publicly accessible park.    


The 451 E. Grand parcel is already part of Planned Development No. 368 which spans a large portion of eastern Streeterville.  Being within a large planned development boundary, the land was already assigned bulk, density and height development rights.  It was Alderman Reilly's job to review the existing development rights against the current proposal and determine the best possible solution for the neighborhood.


The chart below offers a comparison of the project proposal v. the negotiated plan to be presented to the Plan Commission:


Proposed/Existing Negotiated
500 dwelling units 350 dwelling units
600 parking spaces 296 parking spaces
Zero public open space 1.5 acre publicly-accessible park
5 curb cuts 3 curb cuts
Bulky, dense structure Thinner building respecting light/air


From the traffic standpoint, there were also numerous improvements incorporated into the plan.  The Alderman required that the developer comply with CDOT recommendations related to the location of condo and apartment entrances to forging a better ingress/egress solution for Peshtigo/Grand traffic and pedestrians. Acknowledging that Streeterville has some of the worst congestion in the city, this reconfiguration was key alongside the reduction of curb cuts out of respect for the thousands of pedestrians on surrounding streets.  The developer will also repave streets and reconstruct sidewalks along the perimeter of the site.



The new park space, not an existing developer obligation, was folded into this approval by Alderman Reilly based upon the condition of the site and countless complaints by residents.  By including this land into the developer obligation, residents will soon have a modern park with the appropriate mix of sodded areas, trees, playground equipment and a dog-friendly area.  A park of this quality would not be possible with city funding, so the Alderman enlisted the developer to not only reconstruct the existing land but maintain the entirety of the park in perpetuity.


Alderman Reilly would like to express his gratitude to SOAR membership and the residents of both 530 N. Lake Shore Drive and Parkview for their participation in the many months of rigorous community process.  This routine collaboration of public review and comments with developer engagement has afforded downtown Chicago dozens of projects that not only beautify our landscape but provide substantial public benefit to 42nd ward residents.


Click on the following links to view the application and CPC presentation.



 400 West Huron



The site is currently occupied by the former Scoozi! Restaurant and two additional parcels: a corner parcel to the east and former Cushing Printing building to the west.  The proposal includes demolition of both the corner and Scoozi structure with a future rehabilitation and conversion of the masonry Cushing building for condos at a future date.* 


This development proposal underwent substantial public scrutiny in community meetings, both ward-wide and smaller review sessions with River North Residents Association membership. These dialogues produced a plan which is a vast improvement from the developer's initial offering.


80 rental units     46 condo units
80 parking spaces 61 parking spaces
A standard 10' retail height A 18' showcase retail floor height
No dog run 1,200SF heated, enclosed dog run
Limited streetscaping Larger sodded parkways


The parking reduction was achieved actually two separate times---once from the original rental plan (80 spaces) and a second time (71 spaces) to better manage the ratio closer to 1:1 (1:3) at the final 61 spaces.  


The developer was also asked to increase the amount of green space along Huron Street, changing the previously proposed landscape planters to mirror the broad expanse of grass on the block to the east, adjacent to the Tuxedo Row Townhomes.  A clear six foot wide sidewalk will be reconstructed and maintained up against the building, with the remainder of the streetscape comprised of a sod carriageway alongside of the curbline.


The scale of the development was also adjusted with an 18' clear ground floor space to open up the corner and create a more pedestrian friendly experience with greater transparency at the base of the building. It is also likely that this will be the future home of River North's next new exciting restaurant.


Alderman Reilly is grateful to the leadership of RNRA for their participation in the many meetings and conversations which produced a more compatible project in many ways: more appropriate density, more prudent parking policy and more contextual masonry design.


To view the presentation for this proposal, click here


*The Cushing site redevelopment will require a return trip to the Chicago Plan Commission with community meetings and notification prior to the public hearing date.



Northwestern University Medical Research Center Project Meeting Summary

October 14, 2014



Alderman Reilly and Northwestern University co-hosted a public presentation last week to give residents an update on Northwestern University's planned Medical Research Center. Alderman Reilly would like to thank everyone who participated in the open and transparent community review process.


Representatives from Northwestern University and architectural firm, Perkins + Will, presented plans for the proposed final design and answered community questions about the project.


A competition was held in November 2013, in which the community was invited to vote on one of three architectural firm contenders and provide comments about the project.   As a result of the competition, and discussions with Northwestern University's Board of Trustees, the architectural firm Perkins + Will was selected. Over the past several months, the University has considered input from community stakeholders and worked closely with Alderman Brendan Reilly to address concerns.


If you were unable to attend the Tuesday, September 30 meeting, please click here to download the slideshow presentation from the meeting.



Community Meeting Summary for Redevelopment Proposal at Navy Pier

July 11, 2014



Alderman Reilly and the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) recently co-hosted a public presentation for residents to learn about planned improvements at Navy Pier. Alderman Reilly would like to thank everyone who participated in the open and transparent community review process.


Representatives of Navy Pier presented their plans and answered questions about the next phase of improvements to the Pier, including new restaurants, public seating, landscaping and other architectural features.


If you were unable to attend the Tuesday, July 8 meeting, please click here to download the slideshow presentation from the meeting.  



Development Update on Hotel Proposal for 740 North Rush Street

June 27, 2014


Dear Neighbor,


I am writing to provide you with an update regarding the hotel development proposed for 740 North Rush Street at Giordano's Pizza. As you know, on April 7th, the River North Residents Association and I co-hosted a community meeting to review the development proposal. The meeting was very well attended and I am grateful to those who took time out of their busy schedules to participate.


Following the community meeting, I received a tremendous amount of constituent feedback regarding the proposal and the resounding overall sentiment was serious concern regarding the overall density of the proposal and the major traffic impacts and loading challenges associated with it.


After spending the past two months reviewing the proposal and associated traffic analyses to determine whether changes could properly address these challenges - I have concluded that the proposed 620 hotel keys, split across separate hotel flags, is simply far too ambitious for this location already surrounded by failing intersections (from a traffic engineering perspective) and high-density buildings.


I did not reach this conclusion quickly. In fact, I met with the development team on several occasions to explore potential changes or other development options to help make the proposal a better fit for this location. Unfortunately, at the end of that process, it became clear that this proposal simply could not proceed.


As a result, the proposed 620 key hotel development for 740 North Rush Street will not be moving forward. I have encouraged the property owners to carefully consider the limitations posed by the infrastructure around their site and existing traffic conditions, as they contemplate future development concepts.


I am grateful to the River North Residents Association (RNRA) and Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) for helping me gather public input regarding this proposal and I appreciate the hundreds of neighbors who donated their time to help support our transparent public process.


I value my partnership with downtown stakeholders and residents. I am proud of our success transforming dozens of large-scale development proposals into more compatible, contextual projects. I look forward to working with you to build upon that track record as we review future projects proposed for the 42nd Ward.




Brendan Reilly

Alderman, 42nd Ward



108 North Jefferson Street Proposed Development

May 9, 2014


Jupiter Realty Company purchased 108 North Jefferson Street for residential development approximately seven years ago. Working closely with Alderman Reilly and his staff, as well as the Fulton River District Community Association, and in keeping within the Chicago Central Area Plan 2020, they are proposing a dual-branded limited service Hilton Hotel. The 210-key Hampton Inn and the 128-key Homewood Suites will share one building.


The VOA designed building will replace the existing 125-car surface parking lot with a 23-story (250' to top of roof) structure and contain approximately 302,000 square feet-only 91% of allowable FAR. The building will also contain 7,950 square feet of retail space on the first floor along N. Jefferson Street as well as parking for a total of 117 cars on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Proposed to be a LEED certified project, green roofs and terraces as well as park-like planted areas on both sides of the sidewalk along N. Jefferson Street will be included.


Transitional elements on both the North and South elevations of the building will integrate the tower into neighboring properties. This project does not require a zoning change and would be processed as a DC-12 development proposal.


As part of Alderman Reilly's transparent community process for new developments, observations are welcome on this project. Please forward any comments for Alderman Reilly to consider to: development@ward42chicago.com.



City Council Approves New High-Rise at 200 North Michigan Avenue

February 10, 2014


A new Planned Development for 200 North Michigan Avenue was approved by the City Council Zoning Committee on January 23rd and passed unanimously during last Wednesday's City Council Meeting.


The existing site is a vacant 6-story office building with the ground floor dedicated to retail. The approved development will be a 45-story (515 ft. tall) mixed-use development including nearly 25,000 square feet of retail on the first two floors, 402 residential units, 2 amenity floors and accessory parking. The building's east elevation will become a crucial anchor on this important corner and will be a major street-wall enhancement on the Magnificent Mile.


The John Buck Company first brought their initial plans to Alderman Reilly in early 2013. At that time, the Alderman clearly communicated his concerns related to traffic circulation, streetscape and the need to raise the aesthetic of this Michigan Avenue corridor with an enhanced retail presence at grade.


Last September, following nine months of intense negotiations, numerous design changes and significant re-engineering of the site - the proposed development was presented to the impacted neighbors at a community meeting and the changes were very well received.


Alderman Reilly negotiated the inclusion of the following developer obligations into the Planned Development governing this site: 

  • Relocation and redesign of the residential entrance of the building from Lake Street to Garland Court with substantial improvements made to the profile of that segment of Garland Court. The residential entrance of the building now provides for a port couchere to enliven and to beautify North Garland Court. This revision also removes the proposed drop off lane from Lake Street, reducing the traffic impact of the development on Lake Street and surrounding streets.
  • Redesign of the Michigan Avenue elevation to better address the Avenue and create a sense of place. Original plans included a four-story parking base fronting Michigan Avenue. The development now conceals all above ground parking with occupied and active uses.
  • The Developer, at their sole expense, must replace the seven existing planters on Michigan Avenue (never intended for Michigan Avenue) with five new parkway planters to match those on across the River on North Michigan Avenue.
  • A reduction in dwelling units from 432 to 402 units.

The Alderman believes this new development will be a major improvement on this stretch of Michigan Avenue - providing elegant architecture, new retail activity and a higher aesthetic that should transform this challenging corridor and spur further redevelopment of the Avenue south of the Chicago River.


Alderman Reilly believes the final, approved project is a vast improvement to the Developer's original plans for the site, thanks to the important constituent feedback he received through his transparent community review process.



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