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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

West Loop Office Building Plan Includes 6-Story Mural Along Randolph Street’s Restaurant Row

The nine-story project is set to feature multiple terraces, a rooftop deck and ground-floor retail space.

A rendering shows the windowless wall between 1229 W. Randolph St. and Lou Malnati’s as an oversized canvas for public art.
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WEST LOOP — The developer behind a slender nine-story office proposal next to the Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria on Randolph Street is looking to partner with local artists to create a massive mural spanning most of the building’s west side. 

New York-based Thor Equities revealed its plans for the property at 1229 W. Randolph St. at a virtual meeting hosted by Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) and the West Loop Community Organization. 

If approved, the project would rise 120 feet and feature a dark brick exterior, multiple outdoor terraces, and a “cafe-type retail space” at the corner of Randolph Street and Willard Court. 

For the shared “party” wall at the development’s western edge, the designers at Chicago-based architecture firm JGMA envision a towering mural to bring visual interest to an otherwise blank surface. “We think it’s something the community would really be proud of,” architect Dan Spore said.

“There isn’t really a back to this building,” JGMA President Juan Moreno said. “We felt it had to be experienced in the round.” 

West Loop resident Levar Hoard praised the development team for partnering with Moreno’s firm and said he was looking forward “to see some fresh design blood come and shake things up a bit.” 

Hoard, who is also the curator behind the B Line mural collection along Hubbard Street as well as an Oprah Winfrey mural on Green Street, said he’s willing to help the development team connect with local artists. 

In addition to public art, the project at 1229 W. Randolph St. will also incorporate COVID-related features such as touchless elevator access, increased air filtration and the ability to open windows and terraces to create cross-ventilation across office levels.

“Given the boutique nature of the building, there’s an opportunity to enhance the day-to-day operations so people feel more comfortable and can get back to work sooner,” Thor Equities Vice President Peter McEneaney said. “We’re definitely thinking about it.” 

Ald. Burnett noted that the project is considerably smaller than most new developments pitched in the West Loop.

“I think this is one of the shortest buildings we’ve had [proposed] in this community in a while,” Burnett said at Thursday’s meeting.

Credit: JGMA
A diagram showing the height of 1229 W. Randolph St. (center) in relation to surrounding buildings and other proposed developments.

Despite its relatively modest stature, the project will require a zoning change from the city. If approvals go as planned, the development team expects to break ground in late summer. 

An older two-story building would be demolished to make space for the nine-story office project.

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