As the 917-foot-tall One Chicago project soars skyward above River North, a residential development of a much more modest scale recently topped off a few short blocks away at 61 W. Erie Street.

Developed and built by LG Development and Construction, the five-story apartment building reached its final height this week. The masonry structure comes from Jonathan Splitt Architects and will eventually feature 28 live-work rental units.

watermark Jay Koziarz/Urbanize Chicago

The Erie Street property was home to the Astrolab film processing company for nearly 50 years. Astrolab treated footage used in all of John Hughes’ movies as well as Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight before shutting its doors in 2013. The single-story commercial building was demolished in 2016.

LG originally planned a slender 12-story, 10-unit luxury condo development at 61 W. Erie. The NORR-designed project never got off the ground, partly due to the narrow site not being able to provide the amount of parking that buyers of seven-figure residences demand.

In 2019, LG floated the idea of partnering with hospitality brand Sonder to redevelop the property into a five-story hotel concept with 29 short-term rental suites. The project was ultimately scrapped (a decision most likely influenced by the pandemic) in favor of the current boutique apartment plan.

The building at 61 W. Erie is expected to deliver in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to LG's website. The transit-oriented development also includes a sixth-floor penthouse terrace and off-street parking for two cars. 

The property is less than 20 feet from TAO nightclub, so let's hope future tenants can tolerate thumping late-night bass. 

Jay Koziarz/Urbanize Chicago