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Massive River West Apartment Towers, Hotel Will Connect Fulton Market To Bally’s Casino District, City Official Says

The Shapack Partners towers would bring 2,200 apartments to the old Salvation Army campus and surrounding area. A key city committee approved the proposal Thursday.

A rendering of four proposed residential towers in River West near the future Chicago casino site.
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RIVER WEST — A city board advanced plans Thursday to build four residential towers that could bring more than 2,000 apartments and a hotel within walking distance of the future Chicago casino site.

The Chicago Plan Commission approved a proposal from Shapack Partners to build the towers within two planned development areas near the Milwaukee/Grand/Halsted intersection in River West. The development would also convert a former Salvation Army building at 509 N. Union Ave. into a 141-room boutique hotel.

The Salvation Army closed its thrift store and adult rehabilitation center at the location earlier this year, citing “significant disruptions” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shapack Partners bought the campus in May for $25 million, according to Crain’s.

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The former Salvation Army building at 509 N. Union Ave. is set to be converted into a boutique hotel

While not yet designed, the proposed towers near the casino site in the West Loop could include more than 2,200 residential units, plus a range of restaurants, retail and office space. Plans shared with the city show the development could contain around 450 onsite affordable units, depending on the final layout.

One of the towers would be located directly east of the Salvation Army building at 500-520 N. Desplaines St. and could include up to 1,100 residential units. The other three would be built across the street south of Grand Avenue.

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A site map of where four residential towers are planned for the West Loop near the Chicago casino site

The buildings would sit just west and south of the $1.7 billion Bally’s casino slated to be built at the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center, which officials hope will open by early 2026.

Plan Commissioner Maurice Cox praised the development, calling it a “pretty clear win” for Chicago for its creative use of existing properties and infrastructure, and proximity to public transportation.

The development “is like the missing link between Fulton Market and emerging casino district,” Cox said.

The Plan Commission also signed off on proposals for a grocery store project in West Humboldt Park and residential buildings in the Near North Side and West Loop.

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A rendering for a mixed-use building at 3831 W. Chicago Ave. in Humboldt Park that would include a grocery store

In West Humboldt Park, commissioners endorsed a 60-unit apartment building that would include mostly affordable units and a grocery store on the ground floor.

The development at 3831 W. Chicago Ave. will be funded by a mix of TIF funding and low income tax credit, according to planning documents.

Developer 548 Development has purchased the vacant buildings in the middle of the block, which will be combined with the city land on either corner, a city spokesperson told Block Club earlier this year.

“This is the kind of stuff that people maybe on the North Side have become accustomed to. For the West Side, this is a whole new day,” Cox said about the development.

548 Development’s A.J. Patton said a grocery tenant had signed a letter of intent to occupy the building, and more details will be shared in November.

The Community Development Commission approved freeing up to $18.7 million in TIF dollars to support the project in early October.

The Commission also approved:

The projects require City Council approval to move forward.

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