FULTON MARKET — Developers looking to build on a prominent Fulton Market corner now want to bring apartments to the site, after initially exploring putting a hotel there.
The project team, led by Robert Sekula of North Park Ventures, proposed a 36-story residential building for the vacant lot at 800 W. Lake St. during a community meeting Wednesday. They hope to break ground early next year, Sekula said.
The building would include 406 apartments with in-building amenities including a private pool and terrace. At least 106 parking spaces are planned for the complex, according to documents filed with the city.
Twenty percent of units in the development will be set aside as affordable housing, with rent capped at 60 percent of area median income, or just over $46,000 for a household of one.
Approximately 2,300 square feet of retail space would also be available on the building’s ground floor.
The plans are a pivot from an earlier proposal for the property at Halsted and Lake streets.
In 2019, developers unveiled plans for a 476-room hotel at 800 W. Lake St. The change of plans raised the building’s proposed height by more than 50 percent. Initial plans put the building at 265 feet.
Sekula told Block Club that a last-minute “internal” reconsideration, rather than any outside pressures or concerns, led to the projects changing to a residential building.
“It’s a decision that our team made after getting full approval for the hotel development,” Sekula said. “Before kicking off construction we always look at all of our options, and we decided to actually switch course to multifamily.”
Wednesday’s meeting, hosted by Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), drew neighbors curious about an incoming development and concerned about traffic disruption at the busy intersection.
At 36 stories and 415 feet, the building falls below the average height of other approved developments in the West Loop, Sekula said. Last month, plans were announced for a 615-foot apartment tower that would be Fulton Market’s tallest building to date.
Sekula estimated the project cost at $230 million. He said construction should reach “substantial completion” about 24 months after ground is broken early next year.
The project still needs city approval, however, and it is scheduled to go in front of the Chicago Plan Commission at its Sept. 21 meeting.
Construction would employ approximately 300 workers across the 24-month buildout period, Sekula said. The residential complex would create 10 new permanent jobs on site.
Changing traffic patterns were a major concern at Wednesday’s meeting. The building plans to build a covered drop-off site on the north side of West Lake Street, where vehicles can pull off the road when dropping off guests or deliveries.
Traffic would flow two ways from the building, with deliveries, taxis and rideshares proceeding through the drop-off driveway to an alley leading east onto North Halsted Street. Residents leaving the building’s private garage would exit directly through the driveway onto Halsted Street.
The complex design left certain neighbors puzzled. Some suggested that the right hand turn made by delivery and taxi drivers onto North Halsted Street would be difficult and slow, backing up traffic through the driveway.
Sekula said that the development team had “done multiple studies from a traffic standpoint” and, in conference with the Chicago Department of Transportation, had determined that the present model provided “the most effective and efficient traffic flow.”
Project architect Brian Turcza of GREC Architects said that the aesthetic design of the drop-off driveway had been significantly revamped after concerns were raised by members of the Chicago Committee on Design. The current design features two stories of open space rather than one and introduces an accent wall, facing west.
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