WEST LOOP — Prominent West Loop developer Sterling Bay received key city approval for a 29-story apartment tower near the Morgan Green Line station this week.
The city’s Plan Commission Thursday gave Sterling Bay the green light to build a 350-foot-tall apartment building at 160 N. Morgan St.
The approval means the developer is one step closer to building the complex, which will have 2,800 square feet of ground-floor retail. The project will be evaluated by the Committee on Zoning before moving to the City Council.
Under the plan, the apartment tower will add 282 residential units to the neighborhood consisting of studios, one-, two- and three-bedrooms. They plan to include 28 affordable units on-site and will pay $5.3 million “in lieu” fees for the remaining units.
The building is designed by Chicago-based bKL Architecture. It will include an amenity deck and a dog run.
The proposed tower would replace the former drive-thru South Central Bank just south of Federales restaurant.
During a community meeting earlier this year, residents, a nearby business owner and a property owner asked how they would deal with the additional traffic the project would bring into an already congested stretch of Morgan Street between Randolph and Lake. Many cars already park in the middle of the street “with their flashers going” to pick up food from carryout restaurants, one property owner said.
“What’s been done in the design to deal with the horrible traffic we have?” the property owner asked.
At the time, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) said he wanted to talk with Sterling Bay and the city’s Department of Transportation to “do something” about the traffic on Morgan Street before he considers supporting the project.
“Something has to be done because right now it’s not working,” Burnett said.
The developer would pay more than $2 million into the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, the city program that allows developers to build taller and more dense buildings in exchange for contributing to a fund that helps blighted neighborhoods.
The apartments will be Sterling Bay’s first residential development in the West Loop area after the prominent developer spent the last decade focusing on commercial projects like the Google building at 1K Fulton, the Ace Hotel and the McDonald’s global headquarters.
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