A proposed 19-story residential tower is one step closer to rising across from Mary Bartelme Park after winning the approval of the Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday.

Slated for 37 S. Sangamon Street, the $85 million project from Fern Hill and Free Market Ventures will rise 258 feet over the West Loop and will deliver 80 luxury condominiums, ground-floor retail space, and 115 parking spaces. 

The design from Chicago architecture firm GREC features stepped massing with multiple setbacks and terraces. The exterior is clad in three shades of gray brickwork that transitions from darker to lighter as the building rises. 

GREC Architects

The plan includes a fifth-floor outdoor amenity terrace and a dog run at ground level. The second- and third-floor garage levels are screened by active use to conceal the appearance of parking from the park, according to architect Ryan von Drehle.

The tower slated for 37 S. Sangamon will include no affordable units on site. To meet its affordable housing requirements, the developer will partner with the Pilsen Housing Cooperative to provide 16 units offsite, starting with the rehabilitation of a 6-unit building at 1716 S. Morgan Street. The project will also contribute $1.75 million to the city's Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.

Efforts to redevelop the long-vacant lot—which was most recently used as a temporary community garden—have been in the works for more than two years. An earlier proposal for the site called for a 300-foot-tall building containing rental units plus a "phase two" tower to replace the Merit School of Music to the east.

The latest plan eliminates the second high-rise in favor of a single, shorter tower with for-sale units. The Merit School property is no longer included in the current development.

GREC Architects

At a February community meeting hosted by Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), the team behind the 37 S. Sangamon project said that condos would average 2,200 square feet in size and be priced at $600 to $700 per square foot—which is roughly $1.3 million for a typical unit. 

According to Block Club Chicago, the developers said they aim to break ground later this year or in early 2022 and anticipate 16 to 18 months of construction before the West Loop project welcomes residents.