It's getting harder to ignore the visual impact of the massive One Chicago development under construction in River North. And despite its already impressive height, the taller of the site's two towers still has room to grow.
According to Joey Letchinger of JDL Development, One Chicago has another 140 feet to go before reaching its final height of 971 feet. The remaining work includes ten residential floors plus a mechanical penthouse and a mass damper and slosh tank system that will prevent the near-supertall skyscraper from swaying too much in the breeze. The developer expects the 76-story tower to top off by June.
"We're hearing more and more buzz from people watching it go up from their home or driving into the city on the expressway," Letchinger told Urbanize Chicago. "We're really excited about the progress we've made."
The mixed-use One Chicago complex—which gets its name from its 1 W. Chicago Avenue address—broke ground in early 2018 and replaces a block-sized parking lot across from Holy Name Cathedral. The project comprises two towers rising atop a shared podium and will feature a combined 735 rental apartments, 77 owner-occupied condominiums, 1,100 parking spaces, 60,000 square feet of office space, a Whole Foods, and a Life Time athletic club.
One Chicago's shorter 574-foot, 49-story tower topped off earlier this year and will be fully enclosed in the coming weeks, according to Letchinger. That building will start pre-leasing on June 1 and move-ins will begin in the fall. The taller tower won't deliver its rental units until the end of the year or early 2022. The tower's for-sale condos are expected to welcome residents around the first quarter of 2022.
"We're actually months ahead of where we thought we would be," said Letchinger. "A lot of that goes to Power Construction. When the pandemic hit, they implemented screening, testing, mask rules, and distancing practices wherever possible. It was their attention to safety that kept us on track and allowed us to get ahead of schedule."
Chicago architecture firms Goettsch Partners and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) partnered one the design of One Chicago. JDL and HPA have worked closely together on past and current projects, such as the sprawling North Union megadevelopment proposed west of the Moody Bible campus, and Goettsch was brought in for its expertise in very tall buildings, Letchinger said.
The property's Life Time athletic club will span the 8th and most of the 9th floors and includes a full NCAA-sized basketball court and no less than four swimming pools. Instead of trying to compete with Life Time by providing separate fitness facilities and pools for residents, as was originally considered, JDL formed an agreement with Life Time for everyone living at One Chicago to have a membership to the club. "It's all part of the One Chicago package," Letchinger said.
Residents will be able to access Life Time's lobby without leaving the building, but renters and condo owners will still have dedicated private amenities including lounges, demonstration kitchens, golf simulators, a putting green, and a 120-foot-long dog park.
As downtown's luxury apartment market shows signs of surging back from its pandemic lows, JDL has seen renter interest pick up in all of its downtown properties, including One Chicago.
"We're seeing unbelievable [leasing] velocity in our other properties," Letchinger told Urbanize. "We're also seeing great interest in One Chicago. The market is coming back, and we think we are offering something truly special."