After more than two years of discussions and design revisions, developer Newcastle Limited shared its latest plans to redevelop the former Gold Coast Barnes & Noble bookstore at 1130 N. State Street into a 29-story high-rise with 304 rental units.

The 345-foot-tall proposal boasts a series of refinements since the last community presentation, hosted by Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) last fall. "The plans that we shared in October were the result of more than 100 meetings with residents, neighborhood organizations, and owners associations, and led to meaningful changes that I believe made this a far better project," said Newcastle's Mike Haney at a recent community meeting.

"We submitted the plans to Chicago Department of Planning and Development and their feedback further improved the project, especially the pedestrian experience and how the building relates to its surroundings," Haney said. Revisions include wider sidewalks and reduced second-floor retail space as well as a substantial reworking of the glassy tower's crown and massing.  


"Previously we had a very gentle step at the top," said Chris Pemberton, an architect with Solomon Cordwell Buenz. "Planning asked us to study a one-thirds and two-thirds relationship where the lower step relates to the height of the Viceroy [Hotel] and the upper steps relate to 1135 N. Dearborn and 4 E. Elm."

The plan includes 105 parking spaces, eight on-site affordable-rate apartments, and will make an $8.1 million contribution to the city's affordable housing and neighborhood opportunity funds. The project also takes into account the eventual redevelopment of the one-story Lou Malnati's pizzeria next door. Envisioned as a later phase, the new Lou's will be set back from the street to provide a large sidewalk dining area, similar to the adjacent Viceroy.

In 2019, Newcastle originally pitched a 39-story proposal with 368 apartments for the Barnes & Noble site, but that plan was shot down by Ald. Brian Hopkins. The elected official called the previous design unattractive and "excessively tall for that lot," telling the Chicago Tribune that the development team "missed the mark on all counts." Hopkins says he's still collecting neighborhood feedback on the current design. 


"No decision has been made yet whether [this proposal] will get my support, but we are giving it its due process, which it's certainly entitled to have," the elected officials said Wednesday. "I think the development team has worked in good faith with both my office and the community over the number of years that this proposal has been in the conversation."

Wednesday's online community meeting hit the maximum number of attendees and some Gold Coast residents were unable to tune in. Ald. Hopkins says he will host a repeat presentation on Monday, June 28th at 6:00 p.m. The public can register for that Zoom meeting here. 

The high-rise proposal at 1130 N. State is not seeking a change to the downtown site's underlying zoning but it will need to go through the city's Planned Development process, which requires the approval of the alderman, the Plan Commission, and the City Council.

If approvals go as planned, Newcastle expects demolition of the bookstore to take place in spring 2022. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2022 and wrap up in early 2024.