Assemble Chicago, the winning proposal of the C40 Reinventing Cities competition, has landed the YMCA as an anchor tenant at the base of the mixed-use development. Planned for a city-owned site in The Loop, the project site at 331 S. Plymouth consists of a city-owned parking garage and a series of smaller parcels on the western edge of Pritzker Park. Bound by S. Plymouth Ct and W. Van Buren St, the rectangular parcel also has an alley running through it that will be vacated.
Originally announced back in 2021, the proposal is being led by The Community Builders and Studio Gang, with DesignBridge and JAQ collaborating on the design. The winning submission will encompass a net-zero carbon, 20-story mixed-use structure that will replace a vacant parking garage and four city-owned parcels. Housing residential and commercial space, it will provide 207 residential units priced for incomes ranging from 30 percent AMI to 80 percent AMI.
The podium will feature 14,000 square feet of space for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, encompassing a half-gymnasium, fitness equipment, a drop-in childcare center, and space for youth programming. Space for a restaurant on the ground floor will also be included and there will be zero parking spaces.
Uniting a dynamic public program with integrated, sustainable systems and efficient materials, the proposition will meet the competition’s 10 Challenges for Climate with a site-specific design that provides a new model to simultaneously address the urgent issues of climate change and inequality in cities. The building will utilize solar panels, a rooftop water tank, heat recovery, no fossil fuels for appliances, efficient structure and facade design, a rooftop garden, and a backup generator.
The approximately $102 million proposal will also commit $2 million toward Pritzker Park improvements. Upgrades to Pritzker Park will include a spray fountain, community stage, rain garden, extensive landscaping, and restrooms. Details will be finalized through a Chicago Park District-led community engagement process.
The developer initially sought to begin work on the $102 million development by the end of 2021, but challenges in landing low-income housing tax credits and other pieces of a planned capital stack have delayed the process. With YMCA secured as a tenant for the commercial space, the development team anticipates securing construction financing by next summer and beginning construction on the project in 2025.
According to a report from Crain's, the project still requires City Council approval for the scope of the development and to acquire the city-owned land for a write down of $1.